53 Norwegian Jewel Spring Break Cruise Reviews

We recently did a nineteen day cruise on this ship from Singapore. We found it to have consistently poor management in all food areas and at the bars. Many staff appeared unhappy which really affected our cruise. Didn’t find the Cruise ... Read More
We recently did a nineteen day cruise on this ship from Singapore. We found it to have consistently poor management in all food areas and at the bars. Many staff appeared unhappy which really affected our cruise. Didn’t find the Cruise Director approachable probably our worst of all our twenty plus cruises. Found the staff in the buffet to be lazy, standing around talking to each other and rudely laughing and commenting on passengers demeanour, appalling behaviour. Food on outside decks never changed in nineteen days. Really disappointed that NCL have highly visible sign on the pool deck saying towels on deck and on seating at tables tables would be collected after an hour on non use. This didn’t happen and we sat at a table several times and watched people not appear for up to three hours. People just left towels to reserve ‘their’ seats which was totally against the ships policy. Very disappointed to never once see a staff member take a towel off a seat. No sense having a policy if it’s not enforced.so only once The positives were music/entertainment was good, clean shop. Some fantastic staff and we met some lovely people. Nice meals and service at specialty restaurants. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We did the 16 night cruise from Tokyo to Shanghai with an excellent itinerary. Access to public transport from all the ports was easy and readily available. Embarking and disembarking was relatively easy and all went very smoothly except ... Read More
We did the 16 night cruise from Tokyo to Shanghai with an excellent itinerary. Access to public transport from all the ports was easy and readily available. Embarking and disembarking was relatively easy and all went very smoothly except for Hong Kong. The ship ported in HK at 11AM. Apparently. some passengers did not have visas for China so no one could disembark until that was sorted out. We got off the ship at 3PM and had to queue over an hour for the shuttle buses as there were only three. The entertainment on board was very good and varied. We did not do any excursions arranged by NCL as we manged to travel around easily on our own using local taxis and trains. We had a mid ship Oceanview stateroom which was an adequate size for two people. We were on the right hand side of the ship, avoid this side if you can, as it docks on this side and can be very noisy on port days. We received an excellent service from all staff especially in the restaurants and the reception desk. The standard of the food was average, Holland & America had better quality food and presentation. Please find attached some of the daily itineraries. Great cruise to see the Sakura blossom. I suggest you download the Travel Japan Wifi app before you travel on the Cruise if you want to use free WiFi in the ports. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
This cruise was chosen as a short experience for a number of long time friends to get together for a few days, rather than just meeting for the occasional meal together, and would include the friends partners rather than just a "boys ... Read More
This cruise was chosen as a short experience for a number of long time friends to get together for a few days, rather than just meeting for the occasional meal together, and would include the friends partners rather than just a "boys thing". The cruise was for 5 days, From Sydney to Tasmania and return, with days in port at Devonport and Hobart. The cruise was a pleasant experience, being the shortest duration we have experienced, and our first cruise with Norwegian Cruise Line. Entertainment, particularly the evening floor shows was possibly the best we have experienced, with a cast of 7 musicians, 2 separate singers and about 12 dancers. We dined in specialty restaurants each evening, and the reservation service worked well. Restaurant staff were always friendly and helpful, particularly as wife has a dairy intolerance, and so the waiters always ensured that all the food that she had in the restaurants was suitable. All the meals were delivered in a hot condition, and no-one in our group had any complaints regarding the food. We did not take any shore excursions, as we were all familiar with the ports. All the crew were friendly and helpful when needed, and were a credit to the ship and company. After enjoying this small sample, we have booked our next cruise with Norwegian Cruise Lines. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
Great service. Hot food selections at the buffet were not warm. Good Friday(4/14) had very few fish meals. This is a fast, meatless day for Catholics. Theater seats uncomfortable: no leg room. Rows are two long and difficult to ... Read More
Great service. Hot food selections at the buffet were not warm. Good Friday(4/14) had very few fish meals. This is a fast, meatless day for Catholics. Theater seats uncomfortable: no leg room. Rows are two long and difficult to get to center seats without disturbing everyone. Movies in Star Dust were sci-fi, terror, or inappropriate for families since this was a school vacation week. Talent was great in Star Dust. Need a card to show where places were on ship. Dinners in dining room great. The staff was very helpful at all times. My handicapped room was specious and convenient for my needs. I had a wheel chair and two canes. The walk-in shower was very convenient. The higher toilet made it easier to get up from it. Everything was clean. The demonstrations were excellent. I especially liked the fruit center pieces. Music on the pool deck was good. Thank you. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
Ease of access to POLA and we really like NCL. Had a great beverage and 3 specialty dining package that was included in our fare. Food was really good and the entertainment was great!! We ate the Le Bistro, Cagneys, and Moderno. My ... Read More
Ease of access to POLA and we really like NCL. Had a great beverage and 3 specialty dining package that was included in our fare. Food was really good and the entertainment was great!! We ate the Le Bistro, Cagneys, and Moderno. My wife thought that Moderno was the best restaurant of the three with a killer garlic beef offering that was a delight on your palette. The buffet seemed to really shine with the food quality and we really liked the fact that you could sit in the La Cucina reataurant space during breakfast and dinner. Service staff was very good and we enjoyed each port. We took advantage of a great offer for future cruises - put down $1000 but NCL only charged $500 for these future cruise deposits that have to be used in 4 years. Obviously, this was a no brainer for us since we cruise 2-3 times per year. Overall, we had a wonderful time. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
My wife and I have been on numerous cruises (4th with Norwegian) I must say that I was very disappointed in this one. Embarkation too a LONG time. There were very long lines and they didn't have enough people to check everyone in. We ... Read More
My wife and I have been on numerous cruises (4th with Norwegian) I must say that I was very disappointed in this one. Embarkation too a LONG time. There were very long lines and they didn't have enough people to check everyone in. We had a mid ship balcony cabin (1072). The cabin I must say was very nice and very well maintained. The shower was a good size with great water pressure. The only thing I didn't care for about the room was the toilet (I'm 6'3 if you're 5'2" you'll love it). The ship itself also very nice. Very well maintained and clean. Lots of nice features and artwork throughout. The entertainment was very good! We weren't disappointed at any show we went to. Now for the not so good. The food in the garden cafe was forgettable. The food had no flavor (lack of seasoning). We dined in both main dining rooms and were very disappointed in the service (slow and inconsistent). The waiters really didn't seem to care much about doing their job. They weren't rude...just kinda there. What's really shocking about the poor service is that they had a LOT of people working...but they all seemed to just be trying to find something to do to stay busy. The Service in the Stardust theater was the worst. They literally only had about two servers for the whole area! But yet they were servers in other areas pretty much trying to find things to do. Even a lot of the people that were supposedly in charge we're pretty much just standing around talking or doing nothing. We dined at Cagneys one evening. As the young lady was checking us in she received a phone call from a guest. She rudely said there was a long line and hung up the phone. Not only was it not a long line but we were the only one standing there. Even worse than that the restaurant was at best half full. So not only are they losing money because the restaurant is at four but the rude person this at the front desk was chasing away prospective customers. There were some bright spots though it's for service. Our waiter and the Brazilian restaurant was the best. I don't remember his name but I remember he was from India. Very hard worker with a great attitude. Also the young lady from Macedonia working the bar on the aft deck by the garden café. She did a awesome job and had a great attitude. Let me also mention the head waiter at the Moderno restaurant he was also great. But outside of this our service was very forgettable. One other thing that we didn't care for was that there unlimited drink package ( which is one of the most expensive of any cruise line that we saw) didn't even offer a bottled water or lattes. We had an enjoyable time as far as time spent together… But I don't think I will be booking with Norwegian again anytime soon. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
Had a really good time on the Jewel. My wife and I had the Ultimate Beverage Package and spent a lot of time at the bar in O'Sheehans. All drinks up to $15 were included and speciliaty martinis and premium brands had just a few ... Read More
Had a really good time on the Jewel. My wife and I had the Ultimate Beverage Package and spent a lot of time at the bar in O'Sheehans. All drinks up to $15 were included and speciliaty martinis and premium brands had just a few dollars upcharge (you just pay the amount above $15). The bartender Ida was great. He was very funny and friendly and made a great Mojito (better than the Mojito bar). Manish also worked this bar and was very friendly as well. I found the ship to be in good repair and very clean. Food was plentiful. The food at the buffet was good for buffet food. The variety was good, but the food tended to be overcooked. The food in Tsar and Azure dining room was also good, but not great. The prime rib was good as was the lamb and Salmon. However most of the soups were misses, especially the French Onion soup. The specialty restaurants were better. We had the 3 meal UDP and ate at Cagney's, Moderno and La Cucina. At Cagney's the 32 oz. Porterhouse is the call. My son ate the whole thing. I had the 29 oz Tamohawk steak. This was very good, but the Porterhouse was better. The Lasagna appetizer at La Cucina was huge and excellent. The pizza was much better than at the buffet and the ribeye was pretty good, but not as good as Cagney's. Moderno was just ok as the meat was too salty for my taste. Played poker in the casino, but the game was not well run and the $25 max rake is excessive. After the first 3 nights there was not any interest in the cash games. In Puerto Vallarta we hired a taxi for the day (over 6 hours) for $125. The driver took us all over. We greatly enjoyed the Tequila distillery El Baston del Rey. Great Extra Anejo and flavored tequila. In Mazallan we took a taxi to Las Flores hotel ($10). Free day pass to use the pool or beach. They gave us lounge chairs and we sat under the Palappa umbrella. Of course they want you to buy food and drink, but not to worry 2 quesadillas, chips with salsa and guacamole and 2 buckets of beer (12 total) was $38. Had a really nice day. Walked around Cabo and shopped and did some free Tequila tasting (well not really free since they were so good we had to buy). Overall had a great time eating and drinking and drinking (Mexican beer is really cheap) in all 3 Mexican ports. A very fun and relaxing cruise. The ship never felt crowded despite being sold out and the shows and comedians were all good, in fact the shows were the best I have seen on a ship. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
We were looking for a cruise that fit our Spring Break schedule, and found it in the NCL Jewel's Mexican Riviera cruise. Overall the whole cruise experience was good: We arrived pretty early at the San Pedro cruise terminal due to ... Read More
We were looking for a cruise that fit our Spring Break schedule, and found it in the NCL Jewel's Mexican Riviera cruise. Overall the whole cruise experience was good: We arrived pretty early at the San Pedro cruise terminal due to a 0530 flight from Portland. We dropped off our luggage and went to wait in line to get in. There was a food truck near check-in that several people took advantage of and said it was delicious. Check-in was easy (once open), although the person checking us in was grumpy and not inclined to volunteer information (I learned more by listening to the check-in counter next to ours!). We were then seated in boarding group one...it was a cluster, because they announced that ANYONE under Casinos at Sea could board first, no matter their boarding group so people started getting in line...it didn't appear that you needed any proof - they just let everyone board. Once we got on ship, we dropped off our small carry-on in our room closet and met our steward, Jacob! He was wonderful all week!! We went to Tsar's Palace and enjoyed a lunch while watching them refuel the boat. Then, up to deck 12 to get a view and sign the teenager up for Entourage. It's a bit confusing - you actually go into Splash Academy for the sign-up, and there was no crew direction or signage. The ship left on time. The teenager had chances to meet other teens through Entourage, but didn't do many of the activities there - mostly the group of about 15 teens would meet up and "hang out". The shows were entertaining (loved David Naster (comedian!) and the acrobat/gymnasts) and the food was good in any restaurant we went to. We went to three specialty restaurants: Cagney's, Moderno, and Teppinyaki. Slow service in Moderno, but the other two were fine. Mid-afternoon most days I went to the Great outdoors and enjoyed scones and tea. It's pretty empty back there so if you are looking for place to relax in the son and read a book while sipping tea - check it out! Our mini-suite was perfect for us. We enjoyed the flexibility of the balcony and ability to have a light breakfast out there. As mentioned earlier, Jacob was great! Anything we needed, he would make sure happened. :) As others have mentioned, the bar service is slow. I'm not a big drinker, so it didn't affect me much, but I saw that others would get frustrated. My teen had the soda package, and always just went up to get it himself, so no issues there. I wasn't impressed with Puerto Vallarta, but loved Mazatlan (we just got off, walked into town, and then went to Stone Island), and had fun in Cabo (rode camels on the beach!). The weather from Cabo back to LA was ROUGH. We all survived, but I felt bad for the staff I saw in their hazmat suits cleaning up vomit from stairwells. :( Disembarkation was fine - we were able to eave when we wanted, and once we figured out what the different lines were for (again - no directions or signage) we made it through customs, grabbed our bags, and we were officially done with vacation! One disappointing thing - my teen is very active and physically fit, but they would NOT allow him to use the fitness center, even with an adult. He wanted to work out each morning, but wasn't allowed to - I think the age limit should be revisited. :( He did play some basketball up on the sports court, but it wasn't a replacement for his normal workout routine. We would go on a cruise again This is my second time on the Jewel, and I like it, although when we had dinner with the Captain, he filled my teen's ears with all the great things to do on the mega-ships, so that's what we will try next Spring Break!! Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
For parents bringing their teens aged 13-17 on this boat, here's a review from the point of view of a teen. I'm a 15 year old girl writing this review because when we booked our Mexican Riviera cruise, I searched the internet ... Read More
For parents bringing their teens aged 13-17 on this boat, here's a review from the point of view of a teen. I'm a 15 year old girl writing this review because when we booked our Mexican Riviera cruise, I searched the internet for anything to do with what my experience as a teen would be like. So, for teens like me wondering what it's like, here you go. I do review all the other stuff about the boat too, so if you're here just for the teen experience, I talk specifically about that under the 7th section. -Embarking: For embarkation, I recommend getting there a little bit early so you can avoid the long lines. We got to the port at around 12:30 and only waited in line for around a half hour, while some of the people I met said it took them over an hour. The masses start arriving about an hour before the gates close, get there before. -Disembarking: At both the port of calls and the final port, disembarking went smoothy. For the port of calls, all you need to get off the boat is you key card, legal documents (like birth certificates and passports) are not needed. Disembarking at the final port, which was San Pedro, was easy as well. -Cabin: My family booked two mini suites right next to each other on deck 11 starboard side near the front staircase. One cabin was for my parents, the other was for me and my siblings, and my older sister's friend. The cabin was about the size of your average hotel room, but it may have been a little bit tight for four teens. When the couch was extended, there wasn't really anywhere to put your suitcases, and three girls trying to share one vanity didn't really work too well. Things I did enjoy about the cabin included the curtain you could pull between the pull out and the two twin beds, which was helpful when my older sister and her friend were taking a nap and they wanted the lights off. The bathroom was a good size too. The shower was the tub-shower combination, which means it was not cramped. There's little shelves to put your stuff on, which helped us stay organized. I really enjoyed when the steward (ours was named Sem, he was a nice guy) put little towel animals in the room when we were out. -Food: I didn't go to any specialty restaurants. I went to the Garden Cafe (the buffet), Tsar's palace, and O'Sheehan's. The Garden Cafe was great. They had practically anything you wanted, including ice cream 24/7. My friends were obsessed with the crepes they serve for desert, but I personally didn't have one. Tsar's palace for breakfast and lunch was the same food as the buffet, but they would serve you, and at dinner it would have it's own menu. My personal favorite thing on their menu was the magma cake, it was amazing. O'Sheehan's, which is the twenty-four hour restaurant, is good for eating with friends. It's complimentary, which means you can go there at two in the morning and eat all you want for free. -Pool: the situation for the pool is that there's one adult one and one kid one, which kinda sucks for teens cause we have to swim in the same pool as the four year olds when we would much rather swim in the adult pool. I only went in the pool once, and I only really sat on the edge and let my feet hang in. The water slide is super slow and not really worth going on. There's five hot tubs on the pool deck, two for kids, two for adults, and one for adult watching their toddlers in the really small kid pool. They keep the kid hot tubs kinda lukewarm, but the adult hot tubs are actually hot. -Staff: The staff on the Jewel is super chill. The first night, they enforce things like the 1AM curfew for minors, but after that, they don't. They don't really care what you're doing as long as it's not dangerous. The ladies that make the crepes are cool, they'll put anything in your crepe. (literally my friend got cake in one) -Entourage + the teen experience: The teen club. Sounds terrifying right? I thought so, but go, you won't regret it. Note that you have to register to get in, they should hand you a paper when you get on the boat. I used Entourage as a place to find people. The first night, everyone goes to meet friends. You might think the other teens will be catty, or rude to you for whatever reason, but that's not what goes down. Everyone on that boat is in the same situation as you, they wanna talk to people so they can find friends. Go up to people, talk to them. Once you meet these people, get their numbers so you guys can find each other. It's a medium sized boat, but it feels a lot bigger when you're trying to find someone. Entourage isn't always open, sometimes it's closed because the little kids are in it, or sometimes it's the youth people's lunch break, so keep that in mind. When Entourage is open, they run activities, but you don't have to participate in them. If you do want to do them, they're often scavenger hunts, so it's helpful to know your way around the boat. Teens form groups on the boats, but they're not like the groups you see at school where everyone's all judgy. On my cruise, there was a really big group (around 20 teens) of mostly guys and a few girls that were always playing some sort of party game, like truth or dare. The group I hung out with was smaller, 12-14 people, which is still pretty big. Sometimes the two groups would combine and we'd play one giant game of truth or dare. In the later days of the trip, we discovered that O'Sheehan's serves mozzarella sticks really late at night, and we ended up getting around 20 orders of mozzarella sticks in one night. We also spent a lot of time hanging out in the hot tub and in the Garden Cafe. I ended up finding a lot of good friends, and it's pretty sad when everyone had to leave. It's been about a month since the cruise, and we still talk on a group chat and sometimes we Skype. Trust me, you'll miss the kids you meet. -Things to Know: you can iMessage without paying. Want chocolate? Write a review to the Hotel Director (you can do this in the atrium on deck 7) you'll get chocolate delivered to your room. -Overall, I had a really good experience on the Norwegian Jewel. The staff was nice, the food was good, and being given the opportunity to meet other teens really upped how I feel about the trip. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
My husband and I decided at the last minute that we wanted to take a cruise. The most convenient port is San Pedro/ Long Beach from where we live, so we had our travel agent look it up. The most amazing coincidence was that the one ship ... Read More
My husband and I decided at the last minute that we wanted to take a cruise. The most convenient port is San Pedro/ Long Beach from where we live, so we had our travel agent look it up. The most amazing coincidence was that the one ship he found for us with the last remaining suite available happened to be the same ship and the same suite that we had two years ago. The suite is at the very front of the ship with two balconies one in front and one on the side. It's a lovely suite, with a butler, and is definitely worth the price. I was a little concerned since reading some negative reviews for the ship and the itinerary, but from the moment we embarked, everything was fine. The service in this ship is excellent in every department. We had a concierge, Bruno, who found us reservations for restaurants that were totally booked and for shore excursions that were filled up. He was so wonderful. Our butler, Ronald, was a gem always available for any request. Our cabin attendant, Anthony, cleaned and prepared our suite with attention to details. Each of these people made our cruise absolutely perfect. We were a little worried about finding anything to do on the shore excursions because we had taken this same trip with the same itinerary about three times before. Well we needn't have worried because each port was wonderful. At Puerto Vallarta, we took a shore excursion on ATVs. We had done this before, but this time, the ATVs were newer and more improved, but when the guide started to explain about the gears, the brakes, the pedals, the speed, the pace, etc, I thought I would have to be left behind. But it turned out that these ATVs had a back seat and so I rode in style and comfort behind my husband who did the driving. I was so happy! Also, this was a much longer time than before as we went through the town and into the countryside. We had a blast. On Mazatlan we did not sign up for an excursion, but instead took the advice of one of the reviewers here on Cruise Critic, who mentioned that there were "blue shirts" volunteers at the pier who can give you all kinds of help and advice for what to do and see on Mazatlan. And so we had one of the best days ever, when a man who had an open air taxi took us around everywhere we wanted to go for hours. This tour was so wonderful and I highly recommend this method of seeing Mazatlan. Our guides name is Jorge Mazaha (excuse the spelling) and his phone number is 669-264-4646. If you are ever in Mazatlan, this gentleman is the one to see! On Cabo San Lucas, we always go to the best restaurant ever, The Office, located across from the pier on the beach. You take a water taxi over to it, with sea lions swimming next to the boat, to the shore where the restaurant is under bright blue awnings. The food is amazing and you sit with your feet in the sand as you watch the beautiful ocean and all the colorful people on the beach. The entertainment was okay, with a comedian and a comedian magician as well as a husband and wife acrobats and dancers. The specialty restaurants left a little to be desired as we are vegetarians and there were limited options. La Cucina, the Italian restaurant, was a disappointment. Not just for us as vegetarians, but it lacked any ambience and the food was average. We also tried the Japanese restaurant which was a lot of fun watching the chefs cook at the table and we appreciated that our food was cooked separately from the meat. La Bistro was very good with a delicious portobello mushroom dish and nice classy ambience. The winner for us was the buffet, with lots of choices and some really good dishes. Also, we loved being able to take our food outside to the deck and eat while watching the beautiful ocean. We actually went to the Fitness center which although small, had the stair masters facing the picture windows. Just one negative comment was that our cruise was during Spring Break and there were lots and lots of children. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but sometimes the screaming, running, and crying got to us. But, overall, one of the best cruises we've taken. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
We chose this cruise because it worked out well for Spring Break. We could not be happier with the experience we had. The staff on board was one of the greatest highlights of our travel experience. We have never been around so many humble, ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it worked out well for Spring Break. We could not be happier with the experience we had. The staff on board was one of the greatest highlights of our travel experience. We have never been around so many humble, kind, and attentive people at once. We had excellent experiences with bartenders, restaurant staff, room stewards, the cruise director himself, and more. I have been on one other cruise in my life and I have to say the energy on board the Jewel was pretty incredible. So much positivity was felt from staff and guests alike. We felt truly valued and cared for and the amenities and activities on the ship made our days at sea full and enjoyable. The ports are beautiful and charming. Most were not too commercial feeling and actually gave you a sense of what the area was like. The excursions we chose made the experience so much more enjoyable as every staff member involved was enchantingly sweet. The Yelapa and Majahuitas excursion was our favorite. You're taken to an authentic little fishing village after snorkeling and kayaking through beautiful waters next to rocks. They feed you a fresh lunch and unlimited beverages on board. The staff puts on an incredible music performance, and the whole experience left us grinning and laughing. The next excursion we did was the Zip lining in Mazatlan and that had incredibly beautifu views and again, had a wonderful accommodating and helpful staff, and ends with a tour of an agave farm and tequila distillery that is visually stunning and so much fun. The last excursion we did was the Mexican Outback and Camel Ride, which was located on a beautiful beach in Cabo and was a more relaxing and interesting trip. We enjoyed the ride and the delicious authentic Mexican buffet afterwards, (tequila tasting included of course.) We watched whales breach as we ate our food overlooking the pristine waters. On our last day at sea we experienced what I would call the best Swedish massage of my life at the Spa on ship, as well as an amazing "fire and ice" pedicure overlooking the ocean. We also gambled at the casino, ate at Tsars palace (our favorite restaurant on board), and drank at our favorite bar with our favorite bartenders. All in all this is an incredible ship with happy, positive energy. The decor may be a little outdated like the other reviews say, but we enjoyed every quirky aspect of this boat and appreciated how much effort went in to the onboard entertainment and comfortability of the guests. The variety of restaurants and bars was impressive. The onboard comedy was great. & The Tropical Four band was lovely, we tried to catch theme every chance we could. Thank you Norweigian Jewel! Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
We typically cruise in anything from inside to balconies, and this was our first full suite (Penthouse with large balcony). I thought it would be interesting for the readers to read a compare and contrast in the summary. This cruise was a ... Read More
We typically cruise in anything from inside to balconies, and this was our first full suite (Penthouse with large balcony). I thought it would be interesting for the readers to read a compare and contrast in the summary. This cruise was a seven day Mexican Riviera trip on the Norwegian Jewel, but we had sailed on the Jewel in 2015 on a 19 night Panama Canal Cruise in a balcony cabin. Our last cruise in January 2017 was an inexpensive last minute 4 day Bahamas RCL cruise in a SMALL inside cabin. We traveled with my daughter and SIL and their two children, ages 7 and 10. This was our first time traveling with family and it was wonderful! First, I want to state that I feel privileged just being able to cruise and see many parts of the world while someone else does the cooking and cleaning. Second, the suite life hasn’t spoiled me, and I’m happy to return to an inside if I cruise again. Did I appreciate the suite life? You bet! Embarkation We chose PrimeTime Shuttle for our transportation from LAX to SanPedro. Their private van ($73) costs less than the shared option. I can’t say they were totally efficient, but I would still recommend them. San Pedro doesn’t have a wide assortment of good options for hotels, so we chose the Marriott Doubletree. Their restaurant was just fine for a simple dinner, and they offered some nice early dining options such as a hamburger, fries and a beer for $10. There are not many restaurants in the area. The Doubletree provided a free shuttle to the pier the next morning, and we arrived about 10:30. The USS Iowa was docked right in front of our ship. The Iowa opened at 10:00 and we were anxious to get onboard, so passed on this opportunity. After dropping off our bags with the porter, we went through security and then onto the area for suite guests. The check-in process was very efficient, but there wouldn’t be much waiting for the general check-in if you arrived after 11:00. There were a variety of sandwiches, fruits, cookies, etc. to enjoy while we waited in the special suites area. The concierge came at about 11:30 to walk us to Moderno for lunch. Access to our cabin was available at the same time everyone else had. Summary: Suite passengers receive complimentary food and quicker check-in. My experience with the non-suite waiting area is that the people tend to be more social with strangers. The regular passengers can access the ship at about the same time and can enjoy lunch at either the buffet or the MDR- Tsars. Most ships funnel the regular passengers to the buffet which is often VERY crowded. We always choose the dining room for embarkation lunch. Cabins: We were in a forward Penthouse Suite with Large balcony on the ninth deck. It was decorated very tastefully. We had a very large king size bed with very comfortable pillows. There was a table for two for in-cabin dining and a large desk area with a DVD player. A small couch (could sleep one person) was near the window. There was a very nice makeup area for my use, and the shower/tub was large with nice amenities (lotions, poof, cotton balls, q-tips, etc.) The hair dryer was a nice high power one that stayed on rather than the type in the inside cabins where you have to hold the button continuously. The butler, Ronald, introduced himself and instructed us on how to use the Lavazza coffee/tea machine. There was a pantry filled with glasses, cups, cloth napkins, etc. He brought in a nice flower arrangement and two plates of chocolate covered strawberries (one for us as suite guests and one for Platinum Latitudes) and fresh fruit. Our family was in the adjoining Owner’s Suite which was larger and had Haven privileges. They had two balconies: one forward and one on the side. Their dining table was a bit more formal, and they had a few extra benefits: a pillow menu, cookies, gummy bears and M&M’s on demand. The butler unlocked the access doors between the cabins. We had been cautioned that the forward cabins were on the breezy side, but greatly enjoyed them while at port and while sailing between the ports in Mexico where the weather is warmer. The temps in LA were in the 60’s and even the first day out, the winds and chilly breezes made the regular pool areas not pleasant. Also, the fog horn, if necessary, is obviously located very close to the front near the bridge, and it blasted every five minutes from about 5 AM one morning in Mazatlan. The anchor makes a loud racket in the forward area when the ship has to tender, so that was another morning of a surprise at about 5-6 AM. Summary: The cabin experience was of course significantly different in a Suite. I enjoyed being pampered with all sorts of extras and upgrades. Keep in mind that your gratuities are not only higher in suites, but there are more people to tip: the Butler and Concierge are amongst those not included in the gratuities. Our last cruise was a last minute one on RCL to the Bahamas where the inside cabin was so tiny that if you kept the beds together, one person against the wall had to crawl over the other to get out. There was also a bunk bed above, and it was easy to hit your head on it (yes I did). Fitting more than two people in a tiny inside cabin is only for the super budget conscious and patient and flexible temperaments. The cabin was on deck 2, and strange clunking noises could be heard at various times, and the pillows were worn and flat. The TV was above the head of the bed, which made viewing it in bed ridiculous. That said, the cruise was about $50 per night pp, so it was a great bargain if you could handle the tiny room and inconveniences. The steward also did a great job keeping it cleaned. Our balcony cabin on a previous NCL Jewel cruise was very nice and comfortable with a couch and all the basics we needed for a very nice Panama Canal cruise. The steward was excellent. So, one’s budget and personality type guide the decision to go inside, OV, balcony or suite. As a person with a grateful and non-demanding spirit, I can enjoy any cabin. Main Areas: The Jewel is a very nice and well-maintained ship with great features. The atrium isn’t a stunner like some other ships but is tasteful and more functional. There are many areas to relax in all around the ship. The Great Outdoors is a wonderful place to eat from the buffet and still enjoy the outdoors. Many of NCL’s smaller or newer ships have few places to eat outside, but the great outdoors (aft) and the topsider’s grille on the pool deck offer plenty of nice eating areas. You won’t find these on some of the larger ships. The Spinnaker on the 13th deck is a lovely place to sit and watch for whales/dolphins and the ocean. Entertainment (dancing) and game shows are featured here during the afternoon and evening. The Fizz Lounge is another nice dance floor and features many of the performers. The pools are a good size, and one is adult only. The Haven pool is quite small but a very nice option on days when the weather isn’t cooperating as the roof is retractable. Of course, you need to be in an Owner’s Suite or one of the adjoining Haven area suites to use it. On warm days, the pools look like people soup. The chair hogs come out early like they do on all cruise ships and nothing is done. We removed towels from chairs that were unoccupied for over an hour. Then, you also have the supercharged chair hogs who rotate between their chairs in the sun and the shade. Yikes. Drink Package: All the adults had the drink package. In general, it was observed that the mixed drinks were watered down. The beer, wine, and hard liquors were just fine. Note that you can order a drink up to $15 if you use the UBP. Dining: Complimentary Tsar’s Dining Palace is one of our favorite NCL restaurants. We love the décor, and the service was always good. It pays tribute to the grand Russian palaces. We love to sit in the aft area to watch the wake. My absolute favorite food was the Vietnamese Pho Soup (I’m a soup lover.) Go to Tsars for lunch on the first day to avoid the crowds in the Café. Azura is the other complimentary dining area with a modern décor that has the same menu as Tsars. O’Sheehans is the Irish pub that is available 24 hours. The soup and the corned beef sandwich are great. They offer a special each evening that is posted around the ship. The Jewel has nice seating near the window at this pub. Garden Café is well laid out in stations and has a very nice assortment of foods. Their desserts are often better than the main restaurants, and you can see what you are getting. If it is crowded, remember that you can take your food into LaCucina where you will find seating. Chin-Chin was busy, and we ate there only once on our PC cruise. We were not impressed. The food is similar to any Chinese takeout in the US. Our opinion tends to match many others on CC. The Topsider Grill and luncheon cookouts are available in the afternoon and for an early breakfast. A nice option in good weather. Cover Charge Dining: Teppanyaki is their Japanese Steakhouse. Make your reservations early as the times are more limited. We enjoyed all the foods, and the meat was tender and flavorful. A children’s menu is NOT available here, and kids often don’t eat many of the selections (except our ten-year-old grandson who consumed huge quantities of filet mignon.) This is a very worthwhile experience. Cagneys is their traditional steakhouse and was our favorite. The beef was excellent, and the desserts were amazing. I had the Oreo cheesecake. The service was impeccable. Moderno is their Brazilian steakhouse. The salad bar has some excellent selections, and most of the meat was tender and flavorful. Excellent service. LaCucina was better than many have reported. We both had the Chicken Parmigiana. Not as high quality as Cagney’s, but it was a pleasant option. My grandson reported that my lasagna was much better than at LaCucina although he liked theirs too. LeBistro has been a disappointment on two different cruises. The service was SLOW and a bit confused. My salmon was to be cooked MW but was raw, and my dessert was a glorified applesauce. Now I know that a tatin must mean “sweet applesauce” in French. The manager noticed I wasn’t eating my food and wanted to make things right, but the slow service discouraged me from allowing him to replace the foods. I was pleasant with the servers but disappointed. If I had to do it over again, I would have gone to Cagney’s twice! Suite Breakfasts and Lunches in Moderno, which is only for suites’ passengers were very quiet, and the service was excellent. There are some very nice options (smoked salmon), and we ate in Moderno several times for both meals. Modernos is a great option on disembarkation morning. Summary: The type of dining experience on the Jewel (except at Moderno for breakfast and lunch) isn’t affected by cabin selection. All of the food was very good to excellent (except LeBistro). I can’t understand reviewers who describe the food as “inedible.” The food on RCL’s Majesty of the Seas was definitely a step below the food on the Jewel. I think this is because the standards are overall lower on the 3-4 day Bahama cruises. The food on our other RCL cruises has been of very good quality. I have cruised with four different cruise lines and think the dining experience is more similar than different. Cruises below seven days probably (IMHO) provide a more inferior product. Also, cruises geared to an older and more demanding population have better quality foods (Transatlantics, European and Panama Canal cruises.) NCL does not offer traditional seating which we have come not to prefer. We almost always agree to share a table (which we did one night in Tsars), and it was a very nice experience. The possibility of having tedious tablemates for 14 night+ cruises makes us choose freestyle or MyTimeDining options. Entertainment: Stardust Theatre Entertainment- The singers, dancers, and other entertainers were all very good. I’ve seen some of the shows before, so therefore performances like Band on the Run were repeats for us. We enjoy dancing (swing, waltz, foxtrot, cha-cha, merengue, etc.) and the bands and performers tried to get people on the dance floor, but it just wasn’t happening on this sailing. I think it has to do with so many families and children on the ship. Much to our amusement, we became “the dancers.” People would stop us during the day on the ship and compliment us on our dancing. That was more of a statement on the lack of quality dancers on the ship if anyone considered us as “the dancers.” The show band, led by Larry was our favorite source for entertainment. The other groups (Souled Out, Tropical Four) were very good. Rockaway Duo…not so much. A Mariachi Band came onboard while we were in Puerto Vallarta and that was great entertainment for about three hours at the pool area. The singers and dancers and the acrobatic performers were excellent. The parties were pretty pathetic and lacked energy, and The White Hot Party was a dud. The cruise director’s staff was dancing but didn’t spark much energy from the passengers. Pedro, the cruise director, was probably my least favorite cruise director with whom we have sailed. Ian Bagswell had just left, and he is fantastic, so I was already disappointed. Pedro was pleasant but not very noticeable and rarely introduced a show in the Stardust. We reserved the Karaoke room (three available) in the Fizz lounge, and that was fun, but my daughter thought the list was outdated. You need to make reservations, and they are only open at night. Summary: The entertainment and activities were often geared to families, which is appropriate since there were many children onboard. The ship at “full capacity” is about 2,400, but this sailing had over 2,900 passengers, making it busier and slightly more crowded. The spring break kids were all well behaved, though. There were few college age people onboard. Crew and Officers The captain, Pelle Fredricksson was very pleasant, as was Steve Jacobsen, the head of the hotel dept. We met the officers at the Suites party in the Haven. Most of the staff around the ship were very nice and hard working. I encountered only one grumpy cabin steward (not ours) that we passed quite often on deck 9 and it was obvious that he didn’t like to say hello to anyone. All the waiters and servers were efficient and very friendly. Summary: We have been on about 13 cruises and only had one ship experience (Holland Westerdam) were the crew wasn’t up to par. We must choose happy, well-run ships. Cabin status doesn’t seem to matter when it comes to the efficiency and happiness of the crew. Platinum Latitudes We just achieved platinum status, and so enjoyed a few nice upgrades. There was a bottle of sparkling wine and two large bottles of water. We also received a small brochure that had the coupons for the free bag of laundry and the two complimentary dinners. Since we also had the UDP, we selected LeBistro (where we received another bottle of wine) and LaCucina. Another very nice experience was the ship tour offered to Platinum Latitudes. We were taken to the laundry area (huge enterprise!), the kitchens (the soup area was most impressive) and the dressing room area for the dancers. Really an interesting experience. Internet: We had the internet package included as a benefit with Free At Sea, and it worked well most of the time. Early morning and late day provide the fastest connections. Most of the adults we traveled with had purchased the I-Concierge app (install it at home), and it was a little tricky to get used to. It didn’t work at times and totally failed for about 48 hours. The internet manager told me the internet was down, and he even used my phone to check the status- not working. Summary: The internet was complimentary with our package, but I also realize many folks can’t do without, so it was a bonus. We didn’t use the IConcierge app as much as we thought we would. Excursions: Our family of six experienced three different excursions. Las Calitas private island (Puerto Vallarta)- The family was impressed with the well-run experience. Even the travel time by boat was informative and entertaining. The highlight was swimming with sea lions, but there is so much to do and only three hours on the island. The experience received an A+. Near the dock, we also stopped at the Market. There is a mall, Walmart and Sam’s Club, Hospital, etc. right across from the ship. Mazatlan Historic Walking Tour (ship tour) We took vans to the first stop at the Cathedral and visited other interesting sites including the opera house, cliff divers, “Aztec dancers,” etc. Of course, we had to “visit” the tour guide’s favorite shops. Lots of people to tip on this experience… Lots of walking. Cabo San Lucas- Our favorite port stop. Clean and relatively safe. The family did the dolphin swim which we were allowed to watch and photograph (not up close, though). They “rode” the dolphin easy- on its belly, more adventurous- holding the fin and then for the brave- going underwater with the dolphin and getting projected out of the water. Wow! They also gave this an A+. Cabo is a great port to walk around, buy souvenirs, etc. We visited our first “Farmacia” which would require you to do a little research online to know what you are doing. Summary: Excursion experiences are not affected by room category. We usually do private excursions not associated with the ship, but the LasCalitas day was sold out privately and only available through the ship. Note: it was sold out once we were on board, so book this early! We also had a $50 excursion credit for each port, so that motivated everyone to use the ship’s tours. Debarkation was a bit of a disappointment. We had read that the Owner’s Suite (which is H3) had concierge assistance and we even received special instructions to go to Chin Chin’s for help off the ship. This was NO help at all. The concierge had left the ship as she had finished her contract and was going home, so her assistant just showed us off the ship (easy to do on your own.) We were given the option of standing in a long line to take the elevator or the escalator. We were on our own with the hordes of people in line going through customs. After we had made it through customs, I saw a staff member who had just helped another person skip the line and asked her what the policy was. She said you had to be a cabin physically in the Haven, not one of the Haven cabins on other parts of the ship. I also asked about the policy on cruise critic, and learned the concierge “walk off” appears to vary with the ship and port. We found PrimeTime Shuttle to the right of the dock and waited maybe ten mins for our private van. We witnessed the manager trying to rip off a walk up customer with an outrageous price ($50 pp). Fortunately, this man had done his homework, and the driver then offered him a very appealing rate. If you are going to a hotel, it costs $20 more. Part of our group was going to a hotel on Century Blvd. We continued to the airport and picked up the Thrifty shuttle to go to their off-airport facility. The rental facility was right across the street from where our daughter and her family were left off. If I had known that, we could have saved 30 minutes. Thrifty was very efficient. We would be very happy to sail on the Jewel again. Like some of its sister ships, the Jewel offers most features that you would expect or desire. The Jewel class ships are our favorite class in the NCL fleet. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
We chose this cruise because it fit our scheduled Spring Break. Since I am a teacher and we have a school aged child, that is the week we needed to go. We were also excited to try a Norwegian cruise because we had never cruised on ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it fit our scheduled Spring Break. Since I am a teacher and we have a school aged child, that is the week we needed to go. We were also excited to try a Norwegian cruise because we had never cruised on Norwegian before. The boarding process was smooth and easy. We were able to board our ship in very little time. We were directed to the Garden Cafe where we could enjoy lunch and some down time before setting sail. In the Garden Cafe we were able to meet the restaurant manager of the Jewel, Noel Chaves. From that moment, Noel took very good care of us. He was always interested in how our cruise was going, or if there was anything he could do to make things more enjoyable. He visited with us every day and made us feel extremely valued. Honestly, he is amazing! The impact this kind man had on our family is a lasting one. The food on the Jewel was very good. We all agree that it is much better than food on other cruises we have taken. The ports were charming and enjoyable. There are many options of activities and adventures at each stop. The atmosphere was very family friendly and relaxing. The entertainment and activities were quality and very enjoyable. The comedian and magician were extremely entertaining! We also enjoyed other activities such as balloon twisting, trivia games, dance parties and much more. The ship has many places to spread out as well. Our family found ourselves in a quiet, secluded game room where we completed a puzzle together on our first night at sea. Our room stewardess was such a sweetheart and helped keep our little home away from home nice and tidy. She was happy and willing to help us with the needs we had. My husband is a big basketball fan, so he was delighted to learn that the ship was working to broadcast the first round of March Madness for the passengers to enjoy. We were able to enjoy many games on a giant screen in the atrium. We also enjoyed the friendly banter between other passengers as we cheered for our favorite teams. The crew was dedicated to keeping everyone healthy. There were hand sanitization stations everywhere as well as crew members personally sanitizing hands of passengers before going into any dining area. I was also happy to see that hand sanitization was provided before boarding the ship after being out and about at the ports. Our overall experience was amazing, and we would recommend this cruise and the Jewel to anyone! Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
The staff were very friendly and great service with smiles. Donovan, and Cindy were outstanding waiters. Christian was our cabin maintenance and he is a happy polite and hoping he will receive a raise in wages or position if he ... Read More
The staff were very friendly and great service with smiles. Donovan, and Cindy were outstanding waiters. Christian was our cabin maintenance and he is a happy polite and hoping he will receive a raise in wages or position if he wishes. Our room was 9055. I did not like the idea of having to look for a breakfast, lunch and dinner place to sit and eat on deck 12. It was always crowded. I felt the hot meals were very spicey and I heard that comment a lot from others. The trip itself was brilliant and the places we visited were exciting. There was disentry on the ship but the staff were on top of it and wishy washy was everywhere. There was a problem when coming off the ship. Apparently the border control had few staff and there were at least 10 of us still on the ship at 12pm. when the new passengers were beginning to board. The one and most important complaint I received as a cruise critic was this, As you had to go through the casino to the Stardust theatre you walked through a smoke haze. So many people complained about the smoking in the casino. I did speak to Ian the director and he said that Norwegian did try to stop the smoking but there was less money spent in the casino so they decided to let people smoke again. There it is in a nutshell......Norwegian care more for more monies than they do for passengers health. One day someone will sue for passive smoking and perhaps they will do something about it. There are folk who don't smoke and love to have a try at the casino. Why they cannot build on to the cigar room and put a few pokies in that room for the smokers would be a better idea then we do not have to have our health affected. The other main concern was that the outside lounges were taken up by people who just put their towels on the lounges and walked away for hours. This should be stopped to make it fair for everyone. If a person walks away for more than 15 min then the staff should be vigilant and have the right to take the towel away and allow another to use the lounge. I know this is an ongoing thing but it is not a fair practise at the moment. I hope Nowegian can bring into an effect something to stop this. Too many sun lovers and not enough lounges. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
We booked two weeks before sailing and got an enclosed balcony cabin for the first time - we loved it! Ultra quiet and quite roomy. Storage space was limited, but okay for a 7 (or 10) day cruise. Our flight was delayed on sail day, so ... Read More
We booked two weeks before sailing and got an enclosed balcony cabin for the first time - we loved it! Ultra quiet and quite roomy. Storage space was limited, but okay for a 7 (or 10) day cruise. Our flight was delayed on sail day, so we were very happy to see the NCL ladies at the airport for our transfers to the ship. However, when we got to the port, they did not know we were coming, the porters had been dismissed, and the greeters were confused that we were so late. All was eventually worked out, and we got aboard about 1.5 hours before sailing. Service was great in the main dining rooms, not so great in the Bistro and La Cucina. We thought the food in the main dining was better than in the 2 for-pay restaurants we ate in. We are Platinum, so did not have to pay - would have been very disappointed had that not been the case. We canceled any other reservations we had and returned to Azura, our complimentary dining room of choice. We extra-tipped everyone there who made our dining experience so pleasant. Breakfast in the Tsar Palace was great also. Go there on disembarkment day to wait for your color to be called - service was fast and the food was hot. We only went to two shows as the regular show timing did not fit with our dining plans - I don't think we missed much, based on the two shows we did attend. The Thermal Suite was very nice, with 2 exceptions: the robes are too small for people of size (of which there were many on the ship), and people tended to hog the heated ceramic loungers in the suite - no time limits are posted as guidelines. When I pointed both of these issues out to the staff member, she just smiled (about the robes) and said "That would be rude" (about people hogging the ceramic loungers). We expected a "Spring Break" atmosphere aboard this cruise, given that it was a 7 day Mexican Riviera, and we were not disappointed. However, there are plenty of quiet spaces aboard for those who do not want to indulge in the party. Since we travel to Mexico extensively, and have visited all the ports numerous times, we did not do shore excursions, so I have no advice for that. We did go ashore in Mazatlan to the coffee purveyor in the first building at the port - for a $3 Coffee Americano (really good) you got their wi-fi - as we wanted to check our email without paying the ridiculous prices for wi-fi on board ship. The Jewel is a really nice ship, well-maintained with a great crew. The Captain was the most accessible that I have sailed with - he loves to talk. If you are looking for a nice get-away, I highly recommend this ship (except for the the for-pay restaurants and the too-small robes in the cabins and the spa). Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
My husband and I are frequent cruisers, and our first cruise experiences were with NCL. We always had a great time, but felt as though they liked to "nickel and dime" passengers a bit too much with promotions. Nevertheless, we ... Read More
My husband and I are frequent cruisers, and our first cruise experiences were with NCL. We always had a great time, but felt as though they liked to "nickel and dime" passengers a bit too much with promotions. Nevertheless, we decided to cruise on the Jewel to the Mexican Riviera and give them another try. We used an NCL provided bus from LAX to get to the port, as San Pedro (port location) is over a half hr. from the airport. NCL provided an easy bus transport for the best price I could find. Since it was Sunday, traffic was light, too. We made it to the port in good time. That's where things started going south. We had booked a Penthouse Suite, which includes a lot of bells and whistles, obviously, since any cruise passenger wants to get what they pay for. One of those things is priority boarding and VIP treatment on-board. In fact, whenever we've been in a Suite on NCL in the past, we've always been escorted onto the boat with a Rep.... sometimes even a ship officer. Well, the moment we entered the port, we were "herded" like cattle into a "holding area". We looked around and didn't see any signs for VIP's or Suite Passengers. When we showed the first NCL rep our tickets, we expected to be shown to a VIP area. Nope. The lady very gruffly sent us into a cattle chute with long lines and we waited for a good 20-25 min. until we got to a rep at the desk. Again, we were unimpressed, as he was non-committal and didn't even welcome us with a "hello". Since we were both a little perturbed by that time, I explained that we may have been sent to the wrong line, that we were Suite passengers. Well, his eyebrows finally went up, and he told us to wait where we were. We watched him walk clear across the terminal (huge building, by the way) and we were left standing there, thinking... "He's going to the VIP area, because that's where our key-cards are! We were right. He came back with our cards. Then he sent us over to where he'd gone. Finally, we saw the VIP/Suite area, clear across the enormous terminal and not well designated with signs. Immediately another rep saw us and asked us to sit outside the VIP area in another "holding pen". I went to another Rep... a lady outside the VIP/Haven welcome center and showed her my key-card. I told her I was a Suite passenger. She was very nice, but informed me that I still needed to sit in the "holding pen" and wouldn't be given access to the VIP area. When we finally boarded the ship, the security officer couldn't get our key cards to even work! Our first stop on board was in yet another (fortunately short) line to get new key cards. Here's where I have to say how wrongly we were treated for what we paid as Suite passengers. We didn't know it at the time, but all passengers have color-coded key cards and they'd given us the wrong color. Now you'd THINK that maybe one of the on-board service reps like the one behind the Guest Services desk would catch that mistake? Nope. So up until Day 5 of the cruise, we had the wrong colored cards, not designating us as Suite passengers.... after PAYING EXTRA for the privileges associated with VIP's! On one of the port stops, we were supposed to receive Tender privileges. When I came back from my shore excursion, I showed the attendant my card, asking where the Suite/VIP line for boarding the Tender was. He looked at me like I was from Mars, since I had the wrong-colored card at the time. At that time, I didn't realize a big mistake had been made, and at least he was nice enough to check and got me on board one of the boats without a wait. It was our sweet Butler... a very kind lady who caught the card/identity mistake on Day #5 of the cruise. She got us new cards and apologized, though there were only two days of cruising left. THEN, the head Concierge made a huge deal of it the next morning at breakfast, "touching base" with us to make sure we were enjoying our cruise. A lot of good THAT did. We'd already received rather poor service up until that point, and the trip was almost over. No bottle of wine or "consolation" except his verbal "touching base" was offered us. Spending the extra money on the Penthouse Suite had been a HUGE disappointment. We had read that the Jewel was an "older ship". However, we've sailed on plenty of older, well-maintained ships, and have always been very impressed with the upkeep and maintenance. Until March 27, that is. When we finally made it to our cabin, both of us were shocked. There was a quarter sized HOLE in the hall carpet, the bed-skirt was dingy, wrinkled, and worn. The fabric on the two lounges on our balcony had moldy spots and obviously hadn't been cleaned in months. Even the balcony curtains were snagged in places and just very tired and worn-looking. This was a Penthouse Suite. The rest of the ship seemed in fairly good condition, aside from some of the wooden decks which looked like they could use a good re-finishing... really bleached out. We are big Bingo players, one reason we've always enjoyed NCL, since Bingo is a big deal on board their ships. However, even Bingo was a disappointment. For those people lucky enough to win, the pay-offs were the lowest we'd ever experienced on an NCL boat. The last Bingo payoff on the last day of cruise is typically the largest one... aboard the Jewel it was a mere $700. I can tell you that for the amount they charged to play along with the hefty number of passengers playing, that payoff should have been significantly more on the last day of the cruise!!! For the most part, we just felt service wasn't all that great. On past NCL cruises, usually two people cleaned our room, daily, even when we only occupied an Ocean-view room. On the Jewel, one lady cleaned our Suite, and bless her heart, she always seemed harried and exhausted. I really felt sorry for her. Even wait staff wasn't as attentive. Most of the time, I had to ask for another drink, as staff wasn't attentive to water being low in a glass or a wine-glass being almost empty. I've already mentioned the brusqueness of the Port staff. It goes without saying that when someone pays good money, especially for a SUITE, that service should be stellar. Our best and most impressive contact on board was our Butler. She was FANTASTIC. Two of our Shore Excursions were canceled. We had to come up with a different plan twice, but it worked out okay. Overall we enjoyed them, aside from the gratuitous "shopping stops" at jewelry stores and even a furniture market! Good grief, who goes on a Cruise to buy FURNITURE??????????? Still, we enjoyed the Mexican culture and the guides were all very friendly and sociable. It was interesting seeing some of the real Mexican villages in Mazatlan and our guide staff in Puerto Vallarta was the absolute BEST we'd ever experienced. So bravo, there! The other highlight was the food. We did receive Suite dining privileges for Breakfast and lunch in a specialty restaurant, and we made SURE we got to use those!!! Though the service wasn't always the best, the food was dynamite. My husband is a carnivore and loves steaks. Cagney's served up a super Filet Mignon and he was overjoyed to get to have that for breakfast daily with eggs. My favorite meal had to have been the Lobster at Le Bistro. Very tasty. In fact, it was so good, we returned to that restaurant our last night of the cruise, only to find they were out of the lobster. Also, Le Bistro's take on fondue was mighty sweet. We were very thankful the food was so good, since some of the wait-staff barely cracked a smile when serving us. Honestly, I felt like they may not have been treated very well by management and short-staffed. They just didn't look happy like other staff we've experienced on board other ships. Disembarkation went a lot better than our embarkation. We took a tour of LA, so we met inside the Stardust Theater. The Theater is beautiful and spacious. We did one show that really impressed... based on Circque de Solais. It was very professional and enjoyable. Sadly, the hassle and poor service we experienced on board the Jewel, as well as the very poorly appointed Penthouse Suite in such sad condition has made it highly unlikely that we'll never to sail with NCL again. I certainly hope that readers here on Cruise Critic will have a better experience than we did. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
Where do I start? Wonderful cruise with good amount of activities and good dining options. Bartenders pour generously and everyone greets you with a warm smile. Shows are not to be missed, especially the comedian/magician Jean Pierre and ... Read More
Where do I start? Wonderful cruise with good amount of activities and good dining options. Bartenders pour generously and everyone greets you with a warm smile. Shows are not to be missed, especially the comedian/magician Jean Pierre and the adage group (forgot their name - but think male/female acrobatics). Amazing talent on this cruise from the vocalists to the washy-washy guy on his guitar every morning. Specialty Restaurants are above average especially Le Bistro. Cagneys is worth a mention as well as the tomahawk steak was one to remember but Le Bistro was definitely the stand out. Teppanyaki was on par with your local Benihanas which I was quite impressed with. Avoid Chin Chin...I've had better Asian food at Panda Express. But the sushi was very good. Suite Life: We stayed in a forward facing penthouse suite and I must say the room was nice, but you are truly paying for the service. Our concierge, Joaquin was there to greet us at the terminal and ensure our trip was comfortable from start to finish. You get to skip all the lines at embarkation and relax in a lounge area with refreshments and cookies and all the fixings. This is before you even get on the boat. Then they swoop you up and take you to Moderno for lunch, and that is just the beginning. You get a butler for your stateroom. Ours, Jennifer, was amazing! She went out of her way to bring us green apples everyday because she overheard my son enjoying them (we never asked for it, they just appeared). At each port you get priority tendering to give you the most time for you to spend at each location. When it's time to return, you just walk right up past the line of folks and get back on board no hassles. For shows, there is a reserved area for suite guests on the balcony (no need to fight for seats). Overall worth the extra cost in my opinion as you are not only treated exceptionally well, you save a lot of time which can be spent enjoying your vacation. Pros: Great service, Good food, bars pour heavy, Good entertainment, Kids club Cons: only one "main" pool so can get crowded on sea days. Overall impressed with this cruise. First time with NCL and will be back. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
Cabin was awesome 9542 Steward Pablo was awesome Entire staff was awesome,everyone treated me well Solo cruiser. Food was good/great,but you have to shop the complimentary nightly specials as 1 night i paid for lamb chops, one ... Read More
Cabin was awesome 9542 Steward Pablo was awesome Entire staff was awesome,everyone treated me well Solo cruiser. Food was good/great,but you have to shop the complimentary nightly specials as 1 night i paid for lamb chops, one night they were free in complimentary dining. Pool areas/spas way outdated. POOL AREAS NEED UPDATING Way,way too many kids,,but it was spring break,so probably the week i chose to cruise.... Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
About a month prior to our cruise, I read a litany of recent negative reviews of the Norwegian Jewel. They said the ship was outdated and run-down and the staff was uninspired if not uninterested. I started to think that I had made a ... Read More
About a month prior to our cruise, I read a litany of recent negative reviews of the Norwegian Jewel. They said the ship was outdated and run-down and the staff was uninspired if not uninterested. I started to think that I had made a mistake in booking the cruise. For the most part, my experience did not match the negative reviews I read. But there were some instances that made me question Norwegian's commitment to customer service. The cost of the cruise was reasonable, especially for Easter week. Our cruise included the Unlimited Beverage Package that uncluded some decent whiskeys and mixed drinks, but amazingly, did not include bottled water. Norwegian doesn't need to offer Fiji water like Celebrity does with their Premium Beverage package (which is cheaper than Norwegian's) but they need to offer some bottled water. Our 3 year old very much enjoyed the kids activities in the Splash Academy. We had been concerned after reading that Norwegian had cancelled its affiliation with Nickelodeon. The staff seems to have done well transitioning the activities. The first evening was problematic, mostly because there were so many children on this cruise. In spite of being overwhelmed by the number of children, the staff got to know every child personally and the children enjoyed interacting with the staff. We ate exclusively in the free restaurants. I had considered getting a 3 meal specialty dining package, but was a bit turned off by the fact that Norwegian recently converted most of its specialty dining restaurants to a la carte pricing. The menu options in the two main dining rooms, Tzar's Palace and Azures, were identical to each other each night. The former had a dress code, the latter did not. We ate 3 times in Tzar's and once in Azures. The food was good but not spectacular. The prime rib and steaks came over-cooked every time (my wife likes her steaks medium; she began ordering medium rare and it still came over-cooked) but the rack of lamb that I ordered medium-rare was absolutely perfect. I dislike the fact that Norwegian has added 3 a la carter items to the traditional menu each night, usually a whole lobster, a surf & turf, and a ribeye steak, that you can order for $20 or more. These things should be included in a cruise, at least once per cruise. O'Sheehan's is a quasi Irish Pub that has menu options such as chicken wings (very bad), chicken strips (good) and pot pie (didn't order it but it looked good). We ate there twice, once for lunch and once for dinner. The service was slow but the views from a table by the window were great. We went to Chin Chin's (a Chinese restaurant) once. The food was awful. The hot and sour soup was inedible. The calamari was served doughy. The main dish (Peking chicken and shrimp) came with one shrimp. By the time the main course arrived, we decided to walk out and go eat at the buffet. Luckily, the grill at the buffet was serving grilled shrimp kebabs. I grabbed 6 of them and ate them over a bed of white rice and had a great pseudo-Asian meal. One thing that Norwegian did exceptionally well regarding food was the lunchtime grill set-up on the pool deck. One day there was tri-tip and grilled vegetables and another day it was ribs and bbq chicken. I made the mistake of waiting too long the first day (I ate too much for breakfast and wanted to wait a bit to eat lunch) and the food disappeared. I learned from my mistake the second time and ate a huge plate of ribs (before remembering that it was Good Friday and I wasn't supposed to eat meat!) One last thing that really bothered me was regarding the automatic gratuities. We had 3 adults and one 3 year old child in the cabin. They charged us for all 4 automatically, which is not a problem. My preference is to not have the tips charged automatically for my son, but rather use cash tips to give to staff members who dedicated service specifically to him. So, midway through the cruise, I went to the customer service desk to have those tips removed. I was told that, as of January of this year, Norwegian no longer allowed for changes to be made on-board. I was given a form to fill out and and an email address to send the form to. I was told my credit card would be refunded within 2-3 weeks after Norwegian receives the form. If they are going to increase the number of hoops you have to jump through in order to NOT pay the tips, they should just be included in the original price of the cruise. Not being able to adjust them on-board is a bad policy. In the end, I did not give as many cash tips as I had originally intended just because the process was an extra hassle. It ended up hurting their employees. I did submit the form yesterday by email and received a response within an hour, so that was good. But it's an unnecessary hassle that can be handled on the ship. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
Let me brgin by saying that I have been on mant cruises with my kids(about 20). Most of them with RC and a fee with Carnival. History has shown me that due to their stellar kids clubs, i was guerunteed some R&R. I chose this cruise ... Read More
Let me brgin by saying that I have been on mant cruises with my kids(about 20). Most of them with RC and a fee with Carnival. History has shown me that due to their stellar kids clubs, i was guerunteed some R&R. I chose this cruise over all othersfor the mexican riviera , for my 4 year old daughters spring break because of how NCL advertised the kid program as have a climbimg gym and obstacle coarse. The room for the splash academy was a blank 15'by15' padded floor roon. NO TOYS NO JUMGLE GYM NO COMPUTERS.I I spent the entire month prior talking to her about the kids club and all the things she would do. getting my VERY active daughter excited about the gym. She was so sad and i had to coax her to go so i could enjoy the awesome thermal suite i pirchased. While there she injured her knee, blead and was refused a bandaide. The only thime i left her there at port was for an hr or so when i picked her up she was sitting in pee she had an accident because she was affraid to ask staff for the bathroom. This was very much oit of charactor for her .Very low budget and we paid over 3000 for the 2 of us in a mini suite. The food was fair . I only eat fruit , veggies and some fish so i am not hard to please. All else was fine. I have cruised so much that i dont have really high expectations. There was something very distubing that i witnessed. We ate at Cagneys 2x and bistro 2x . While we were there waited to be seated i saw folks teying to get a reservation. They were denied stating it was full. I was there close to 2 hrs each time ant the restaurants were practically empty. So they are not being honest with people. My favorite stop was Masatlan we did the beach resort excursion . It was awesome. Great place for kids. They even had a kids club with cupcake decorationg and games. We didnt utilize that but we could have. We did the exclusive beach resort in Cabo. That was a time share.. owners not happy avout us being there the pool was pretty but yoi had to go outside a locked door for beach. It was crowded with teen and colege kids that trampled over my daughter. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
We used PrimeTime shuttles to get us from LAX to the Best Western Plus in San Pedro. Nice hotel, clean, friendly and a good free breakfast. The hotel recommends an Italian restaurant and will give you a coupon for a free glass of wine. ... Read More
We used PrimeTime shuttles to get us from LAX to the Best Western Plus in San Pedro. Nice hotel, clean, friendly and a good free breakfast. The hotel recommends an Italian restaurant and will give you a coupon for a free glass of wine. Go! It is fabulous and the wine is free poured. The hotel has a free shuttle to the ship, but book early as time slots fill up fast. Embarkation is well organized but expect line ups and to queue...you can't escape this process. This was our second cruise so we did get slight jump on getting on the ship a little sooner! Cabin was good, ultimate alcohol beverage plan was awesome, food was a little disappointing. It was good, but not excellent. We didn't try the specialty restaurants as I don't like to pay extra, but did enjoy the Chin Chin Asian restaurant on nights when the menu in the Tsars Palace was a bit disappointing. Breakfast and lunch buffets were good, the Indian food is awesome...very flavourful! We only did one excursion in PV and chose the Las Caletas hideaway which was awesome and we would return in a heartbeat. Well worth the money, but would have loved to stay longer, but ship sails early from PV which is too bad. We explored the other ports on foot, and particularly enjoyed Mazatlan. There are a group of US and Canadian snowbirds who volunteer to guide cruise ships passengers making our walk from the ship to the Malecon feels very safe and easy. We took a Pulmonia back which was fun, expect to be taken on a bit of a tour, but the price is negotiable at the end. Entertainment was the best we have had on a cruise and we enjoyed comedians and an amazing acrobatic duo. Disembarkation was smoothest ever, and we chose to walk off with our luggage to our waiting PrimeTime shuttle car back to LAX. All in all we had an amazing trip...thank you NCL! Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
We really enjoyed the NCL Jewel. This was our second NCL cruise and first on the Jewel. It was a large ship but not overly large. We never found ourselves bored or lacking activities. The food was delicious even though we didn't dine ... Read More
We really enjoyed the NCL Jewel. This was our second NCL cruise and first on the Jewel. It was a large ship but not overly large. We never found ourselves bored or lacking activities. The food was delicious even though we didn't dine at any of the specialty restaurants. The staff was friendly and entertaining. We stayed at the Pacific Inn in Seal Beach, CA the night before our cruise. It was a nice hotel and for $20 brought us to and from the ship even though I believe that feature has since changed. They allowed us to park both of vehicles there for the full 7 days and avoid the parking fees at the World Cruise Terminal. This was well worth it for us. We got another night to have fun and relax without having to stress the morning that we boarded. We purchased our cruise with "sea perks" and received the unlimited drink package. Since we were with 2 other couples and no children this was a very good option for us. We have only ever sailed on NCL and have always had the package. Last time we paid for it and this time it was included. This is a great selling point for us since we are there to have a good time. This made us come back to NCL instead of trying another line. The entertainment on this cruise was great. We had JP the magician which we saw several times. We also saw Michael the comedian a few times as well and always enjoyed both shows. The late night fun at Spinmaker was probably the best part. They always had music and drinks, we really enjoyed that. Most of us never got in the pool since it was a bit windy the whole time and a little chilly. However, it looked like a lot of fun. I did like that it had 2 pools. One for everyone and the other for adults only. This was a very nice feature I thought. We really enjoyed Cabo San Lucas the most. It was a fun time of year since it was Spring Break and had lot's of shopping. We decided to take a water taxi to the Arch which was $10 per person. We got offered this about 30 times while in port... people are EVERYWHERE trying to get you to go different places. We were a bit skeptical at first but decided to try it. The arch was amazing and we had a great guide that showed us all the different rock formations and gave us a bunch of history. This was one of my favorite times on the cruise :). We made our way to Senor Frog's and Cabo Wabo. Both had tasty beers and margs but I think Cabo Wabo had better prices. Mazatlan I would of liked to have booked an excursion for. We ventured off and followed what we called "The Yellow Brick Road" Which was actually a blue line that took you into Old Town Mazatlan. Not much but restaurants here... but we did go a bit further and found the beach. Had I known we would stumble across a beach I would of come prepared but oh well. Sea lions were at play here which was fun to watch. Puerto Vallarta we decided to do a Pirate Boat excursion. This was fun, but we waited too long to book and was basically our only option. It was an all day excursion where you went to a island and snorkled and kayaked and banana boated. This was probably not something I'd do again. Took far too long to get there and back and spent hardly any time doing the actual activities. We booked an obstructed view cabin, 8076. This had almost no view but did let light in. We weren't really wanting a view so this didn't both us at all. I enjoyed watching them take the tender boats down in Cabo however. The cabin was nice, and clean... really enjoyed Mark as our room attendant. Overall, This was a great experience. We are trying to find out which NCL ship we want to book next!!! I would highly recommend this especially for anyone near the west coast, it's convenient and worth it :) Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
I've been on the NCL Star to the Mexican Riviera once before, but I enjoyed this cruise more. The food was overall good. I only ate at Tsar's and Azura once each for dinner, nothing special. I enjoyed the food at the buffet more, ... Read More
I've been on the NCL Star to the Mexican Riviera once before, but I enjoyed this cruise more. The food was overall good. I only ate at Tsar's and Azura once each for dinner, nothing special. I enjoyed the food at the buffet more, especially the Indian food. The tofu masala was my favorite. I often resorted to O' Sheehan's after midnight for a snack like some wings. They also had really good fish and chips. Each night the ship had an entertainment show, as well as smaller shows afterwards usually in the Spinnaker lounge. The acrobatic duo were amazing, as well as the dancers. I liked how the dancers were pushed to go out of their comfort zone, like when they did acrobatic stunts. Ryan the dancer was very talented and super cute. My favorite show was the Dance like a Norwegian, it was so funny. Overall, JP's shows were the best. He's so cute and hilarious, by the end of the cruise I had a crush on him. The cruise staff was great as well. They all are outgoing and confident people. Jovan was pretty out there, but he was the funniest to me. There was sufficient time in all three ports to explore as we pleased. In Cabo, we just walked around town. Do not let the taxi drivers fool you saying the shopping is 10 minutes away, it's literally right there. In Mazatlan, we took a taxi which toured us around for an hour and then dropped us off in an area for shopping. In Puerto Vallarta, we got brave and took the bus (7 pesos each!) to the Malecon area. It was pretty sketchy getting there though but we survived. Overall, this cruise was relaxing and I had a good time. I want to take NCL in the future and travel to the Caribbean. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
My Wife and I departed for our cruise on the Norwegian Jewel on 10/11, returning on 10/18 to the Mexican Rivera. We had initially paid over $1,800 for the (2) of us, and found that tickets were going for $350pp 2 weeks before the cruise, ... Read More
My Wife and I departed for our cruise on the Norwegian Jewel on 10/11, returning on 10/18 to the Mexican Rivera. We had initially paid over $1,800 for the (2) of us, and found that tickets were going for $350pp 2 weeks before the cruise, which was troubling. Norwegian upgraded us to a Balcony Room, but there was still a large difference between what we initially paid, and the discounts being given, and would not provide further compensation. After putting that aspect aside, we boarded the cruise and tried to enjoy ourselves. We had selected the Dining Package, and made reservations the subsequent day(s) we would be at-sea. The first night we ate at the Buffet for lunch and Sushi Bar for dinner. After experiencing what the free food at the buffet was like, and the paid food at the mediocre Sushi Bar, we decided it would be best to cancel our Food Package, and go with the Drink Package instead. I was told it needed corporate approval, but as long as it was an option to one of the initial packages we could select, that they would approve and any monies spent would be credited back. (2) days after the fact our cruise is ½ over, and the request was Declined after having spent monies, because it was stated it was never an option in the original package (which we have emails attesting to otherwise showing the Drink Package being available if we didn’t select the Dining Package). The food on the ENTIRE cruise was mediocre at best, and it was very disappointing to have our request denied on our Honeymoon, and some of the extra features we were told about over the phone, were never even offered to us (ie. Cake and Champagne was supposed to be delivered to our room for our honeymoon gratis, but never was received any of the nights). I also asked that a one-time charge on my credit card be issued, to cover for some of the drinks I intended to purchase, and find they issued additional charges that I NEVER authorized, and now have to wait for holds to be released by my bank for the charges. We are very disenchanted with Norwegian’s policies, and see little reason to go back/let alone provide any referrals to family/friends at this point. The food from the Buffet seems to be "recycled" into the other restaurants (ie. One night they had Antipasta, and the next night there was a "Vegetable Salad" with the same stuff. Grilled Chicken was turned into Fried Chicken the next day). The cruise feels like a time-share were we should have been paid, as before/after every show either the entertainers or the staff, try to sell you something. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
Let me first start out by saying that this cruise was the prime example that Fancy doesn't always mean quality..... The Norwegian Jewel which is clearly not a new ship - exceeded our expectations by far! Let's start with the ... Read More
Let me first start out by saying that this cruise was the prime example that Fancy doesn't always mean quality..... The Norwegian Jewel which is clearly not a new ship - exceeded our expectations by far! Let's start with the PROS: Crew: The staff was so friendly and accommodating. Whatever we needed - we got it. We loved the washy washy guitar man in the dining rooms!!!! FOOD: The unlimited drink and Meal package was A HOMERUN!!!! The restaurants were amazing. A different taste every night. The Tepanyaki Japanese restaurant was our favorite! The unlimited drinks were flowing!!!! Throw the bartender a few extra bucks they will hook you up! Whatever we needed or wanted they had it for us( they also use top shelf liquor !!! ) score! Entertainment: Very random selections but very funny ( a few great comedians and some other nice shows) We also loved all the different bands that played at the pool ...lounges and clubs! We LOVED the martini bar!!! What an awesome addition to the ship. CONS: We honestly have no complaints... Improvements perhaps? Sure. They can use another adult pool ( not necessary ) but would help! - The ports were amazing but the tendering was a bit annoying( you don't pull into port - you take a separate boat to land ) but the ports choices were amazing. ( honduras,belize,Cozumel) This is a simple boat... Perfect size ( only 2800 passengers) and enough help to go around- had the best time and proves you don't need fancy for a fun time!!! GO GO GO! Read Less
Sail Date April 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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