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Norwegian Jewel Review

Norwegian Jewel
Norwegian Jewel

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4.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
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Dori Saltzman
Cruise Critic Senior Editor

Norwegian Jewel Overview

More than 14 years old, Norwegian Jewel has regained its luster with an extensive refurbishment in late 2018. Upgraded areas include all cabins, suites, restaurants, cafes, the teen-only Entourage club, main pool and atrium. There are two new bars -- Bliss Ultra Lounge, offering dance music after dark, and The Pit Stop, a 1950s-themed bar with a view of the pool. Two Deluxe Owner’s Suites have also been added in The Haven.

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About Norwegian Jewel


Attractively refurbished ship with lots of dining and entertainment options


Water slide was removed in the 2018 makeover

Bottom Line

Choose this Jewel-class flagship if you like a vessel that's comfy and fun.

The new look is decidely more modern to the point of being unrecognizable in some public areas. Some people may lament the loss of the water slide and fake palm trees around the pool, but the result is a more relaxing space, especially for adults. Add to that an always-casual, laid-back ambience and a wealth of dining venues, and Norwegian Jewel is a comfortable base from which to explore any port of call.

The first of Norwegian Cruise Line's Jewel-class ships, Norwegian Jewel may lack many of the bells and whistles of its younger fleetmates (no rock wall, bowling alley or ropes course), but it's anything but boring. With dozens of daily activities, numerous lounges for live music and 10 eateries, the variety of choices is dazzling. You'll find it all, from cheesy poolside traditions (sexiest leg contest, anyone?) and interactive game shows (the Not So Newlywed Game never gets old) to breathtaking aerial acts and a logic-defying magician in the main theater.

Our favorite spot to grab breakfast and lunch on the go was the large O'Sheehan's Bar & Grill. Spacious and bright, thanks to windows on both sides, it dishes up guilty pleasure pub grub like fish 'n' chips and chicken pot pies. A pleasant side effect of O'Sheehan's, open 24/7, is that it takes pressure off the main dining rooms, making the waits for dinner, which in the past could be up to an hour, much shorter. We never waited more than five minutes for a table, regardless of whether we showed up at 6 p.m. or 7 p.m.

Although it's a big ship, there is plenty of nifty digital signage that not only lets passengers know what's going on onboard, but allows them to make dining reservations and buy shore excursions on the spot. See that Cagney's is filling up fast? No need to get up to the reservations desk. Just swipe your key card, choose your dining time and you're all set to go.


Fellow Passengers

In Australia and Asia, the majority of passengers are expeced to be locals. In Alaska, you'll find a bit more of an international mix with passengers from America, Australia, Europe and Asia also onboard. The ship draws a broad range of age groups, especially during summer and winter/spring breaks when children and teens are out of school.

Norwegian Jewel Dress Code

Daytime: Casual dress is the name of the game when it comes to Norwegian's freestyle cruising.

Evening: You might spot a handful of passengers in suits or cocktail dresses on the ship's one (very optional) formal night, but most stick to a fairly laid-back version of formal (i.e. pants, collared shirts, sundresses, skirts, etc.). Shorts are allowed in all dining venues except the Tsar's Palace main dining room and Le Bistro French restaurant.

Not permitted: After 5 p.m., tank tops, flip-flops and baseball caps are not permitted in any of the restaurants.

For more information, visit Cruise Line Dress Codes: Norwegian Cruise Line.

Norwegian Jewel Gratuity

Passengers are automatically billed US$14.99 per person, per day in all cabin categories up to and including a minisuite. Suite guests will be charged US$17.99 per person, per day. Passengers can prepay the charge or pay while onboard. Passengers can also tip individually with cash or by filling out vouchers at the guest services desk if they prefer. Crewmembers are permitted to keep all cash tips they receive. An 18 percent gratuity is automatically added to bar drinks, spa services and all specialty and entertainment dining. For passengers using butler and concierge services, Norwegian recommends a tip "commensurate with the services rendered."

Norwegian Jewel Awards

Cruisers’ Choice Awards

2018 Best for Entertainment
2017 Best for First Timers
2016 Best Overall
2016 Best for Embarkation
2016 Best for Entertainment
2016 Best for Shore Excursions
2016 Best for Value
2016 Best for Families
2016 Best for First Timers
2015 Best for Shore Excursions
2014 Best for Entertainment
2013 Best for Entertainment

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Norwegian Jewel Member Reviews

Norwegian Jewel
Sail Date: May 2015
The cruise on the Norwegian Jewel wasn't bad, but I have had better cruise experiences on other cruise line's ships. Second time cruising with Norwegian and have found that their food is mediocre in every...Read More
Norwegian Jewel
Sail Date: Jun 2019
Norwegian did a great job with the itinerary. The tour guide was very nice and knowledgeable. The Norwegian Jewel was a great ship. We had an inside cabin 9569 and it was perfect for us since there is 21 hours...Read More
Norwegian Jewel
Sail Date: Jan 2019
My sister and I have just returned from a very enjoyable 12 night cruise on the Norwegian Jewel sailing to New Zealand. We stayed at the Holiday Inn in Sydney, with lovely views of the harbour from the...Read More
Norwegian Jewel
Sail Date: Jan 2019
Review of Norwegian Cruise Lines ship Jewel 1/5/19 thru 1/30/19 The Norwegian Jewel can be a good value depending on your priorities. I’ll touch on what I felt were the major items to help you make...Read More

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