Number of Cruises: 12
Cruise Line: Norwegian
Ship: Norwegian Jewel
Sailing Date: December 17th, 2006
Itinerary: Eastern Caribbean
Norwegian Cruise Lines
Norwegian Jewel Cruise Review
Let me start by warning the reader that my
wife and I LOVE to cruise, but are of the traditional fare - Freestyle might not
be for us.
Excellent staff, very professional, always with a smile and a greeting. It doesn't get much better, and we've sailed NCL, Celebrity and RC exclusively.
The ship was incredible. Very colorful, top to bottom. I can't think of a single room that was lacking. The design and layout of this ship was perfect in every detail. BIG kudos to NCL!
Le Bistro is a must! Absolutely fantastic experience. The best on the ship. We found it better than Cagney's, but I will say that Cagney's had one of the best Porterhouse steaks I've ever had. And the service in both was top notch.
Cirque Bijou. Best show on the high seas. Enough said.
We've sailed with Captain Fafalios before, and while he might be a somewhat quiet guy, we saw him several times, which is more than I can say for other captains we've sailed with.
Musically, if "Harmonies" are on board, do yourself a favor and sit and listen to them for a while. I was totally impressed by their (no pun) harmonies. Very, very good singers.
The food was hit and miss. You'll read about the miss part in the next section. Sometimes the dining room was good, sometimes it was not. Keep an eye on the menu every day. The only problem with doing so is that if you don't like what is in the dining room, the specialty restaurants may be booked up.
Much has been written about the lack of quality in the cafeteria, but we didn't see that at all. Every time we went the food was what you would expect. All in all, was pretty good.
The sushi was good, but not a great selection. Nothing too adventurous for a sushi fan like me. This needs some work.
The comedian and the magician/comedian were ok. I've seen some of the same tricks before, and I've heard some of the same jokes before so I wasn't that impressed. Not bad, though.
The cruise staff was ok, not great. Paul the cruise director seemed to tell the same jokes and stories over and over again, very rehearsed. Almost like he has his St. Thomas day jokes, his San Juan day stories, and so on. If you haven't cruised too often, you'll like him. If you have, you'll see what I mean.
Lots of photo ops, almost too many, but my wife loves pictures on a cruise. The green screen backdrops were the best ones. Trust me on this one.
NOT GOOD: (Don't want to call these bad because nothing was that bad on board.)
The private island - Mind you, I live in Florida, so a beach does not impress me, though this was a nice beach and I don't want to take anything away from it. I just don't see the point. Instead of going to the private island, why not just take me to another place like St. Maarten or St. Croix? To me, a private island stop is a wasted stop. If I want to go to the beach, I can go to one at another stop. I would have preferred stopping in Nassau, and I hate Nassau.
Tangos and Blue Lagoon - Yuck! Did not like the food at either at all. We ordered some wings in Blue Lagoon and they were about the size of my pinky! What a joke. I would have been better off just going to the cafeteria. For that matter, I encourage most cruisers to save the money and dine in the dining room. If you have a special occasion, Le Bistro would be my suggestion.
Formal night - As I said I'm more traditional. Having a formal night optional is the difference between me cruising NCL again and not. It's part of the glory of cruising to dress up on one or two nights. It's one thing when most people on board are dressed up. It's almost uncomfortable when you're almost the only one dressed up in a tux. I hated that feeling.
Speaking of pictures, this cruise was the week before Christmas. Hello? Do you know how many families like to take pictures with Santa? I know that in today's world we have to respect all nations, religions and creeds, but not having a Santa somewhere to take pictures with was just wrong. NCL is missing out on this one.
Finally, my cabin. 11044 was noisy! There was a sound that was coming from the ceiling on the first night of the cruise that would make you swear the ship was going to split in half, starting with my cabin! I noticed the same sound elsewhere on the ship, and I have not heard it as pronounced on any other ship that I have sailed. I will say though that, after a call to complain, the engineers worked on it little by little, keeping me up to date on their progress, and by the end of the cruise, the sound was almost gone.
All in all, this was one of the better cruises we've been on. Maybe top 3 for us. It's actually difficult to find fault. However, I'm begging NCL to rethink the optional formal night though. Maybe just one on a 7-day, but it would make a difference to us avid cruisers.