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Romeo

Age: 54

Occupation:Retired

Number of Cruises: 8

Cruise Line: Norwegian

Ship: Norwegian Jewel

Sailing Date: 04-17-2008

Itinerary: Transatlantic-Miami-Azores-Vigo-Dover

This is our 3rd time on the NCL Jewel in less than a year. We were first on a Baltic Cruise in July 2008. We then were surprised how the service was onboard. We then took a transatlantic from Dover to New York in September 2008. Again our experience was surprising.

Here are the highlights of this last one. We boarded in Miami on April 17th. This is probably the only drawback: Miami airport as well as the port of Miami are totally disorganized. The difference can be felt when you board a cruiseship in New York, Dover or Barcelona. In any of those 3 cities the embarcation or debarcation is smooth.
The food was excellent. NCL has definitely improved the meals and choice on this ship. From our first cruise in July 2008 to this one we saw a great difference.

The swimming pool area is well kept and there are plenty of chairs for everyone. It is not crowded and there is a pool-side buffet so you don't have to go inside if you are enjoying the sunshine.

Our stateroom was spacious and service was great. Members of the staff take the time to talk to you and enquire if you need anything, without you having to ask.

The choice of restaurants on board in extensive. There are 13 specialty restaurants (fees apply), 2 main dining rooms, and a variety of buffet, snacks and other places to eat.

The shops are rather limited but it gives you more chances to buy in the different ports. On this one we had only 2 ports: Ponta Delgada, Azores and Vigo, Spain.

The disembarkation process in Dover was smooth and efficient. The transfer to London was well planned and we didn't have to wait to board a coach. The staff handling the port in Dover are pleasant, efficient and conciencious.
We liked the Transatlantic because of the numerous days at sea where you can relax and enjoy the peace and calm. It is ideal for someone who needs a break.

We boarded the ship and went directly to one of the main dining room, to get a bite to eat. On our first cruise we were impressed with the excellent service of the onboard staff, but we had to admit the food was regular. On our second cruise the food had definitely improved. On this last one it was excellent. I credit their French F&B Director.

The daily menu had dishes for which I give a 9/10 for presentation, between a 7/10 to a perfect 10 for taste and quality, and I would give a 8/10 on the variety offered every day. By this, I mean variety on fish, meat, vegeterian dishes, and healthy choices. There is naturally the standard menu which is there everyday,and frankly we didn't order once from it because the daily choices were too tempting and ended up being excellent.

We've only tried one specialty restaurant: Cagney's Steakhouse and the difference between the main dining room and the specialty restaurant is that it is not as rushed and the specialty menu is more extensive in the type of food chosen.

The big advantage with NCL is that you don't need to share a table with other people if you don't want to. Our experience with other cruise lines is that there are never enough tables for 2. With Freestyle you can eat when you want with the people you want or just have a table on your own. You can also reserve a table with the restaurant reservation service. There is a hostess on deck 7, near the shore excursions desk who can take your reservations for any of the restaurants.
NCL innovated the "freestyle" and now others are starting to follow. After all, we go on a cruise to be free of a schedule, not to be told when to eat and with whom.

We were on other cruise lines where they could not accommodate us with a table for 2 and it was rather annoying. This is why we will keep on booking with NCL.

Our stateroom was a balcony stateroom located on deck 10. Our stateroom attendant was very friendly and efficient. We never had to wait for anything: as soon as it was requested, there it was!

We knew some of the staff from our 2 previous cruises and they remembered us. With the amount of people they see, either they have good memories or they are simply more personeable than other cruise line staff.

As any other cruise line, there is a variety of activities ranging from sports to cooking lessons. In that respect, I think all cruise lines have a good variety. There is a movie most days.

When it comes to the shows onboard: Cirque Bijou was a show with acrobats, excellent dancers and singers. The staff show is excellent and finale of "Fountains" is a must see... The other shows compare: Magicians, hypnotists etc.

In this case, because there were only 2 ports, we did them on our own. Normally, the choice of excursions is good and at a decent price. Again, in this case, it didn't really apply. We liked the Transatlantic because of the numerous days at sea where you can relax and enjoy the peace and calm. It is ideal for someone who needs a break.

We took the included flights with NCL. The prices were competitive. In our case we had an open-jaw: flying to Miami on a one way and then London to home. These tickets are normally more expensive and after verifying different options, NCL had the best price.

We really enjoyed this cruise and are looking forward to our next one, most probably on NCL again.

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