We are going on our very first cruise next month. I am trying to keep a list of all expenses we might have so we can plan realisticly what we'll spend. I know we will want to try out some of the extra charge restaurants. And I've seen some say if you eat between 5:30-6:30 it is 1/2 off the cover. We generally eat around that time anyway, so if you can confirm that would be great.
How much are domestic beer, mixed drinks(screwdriver) and martini's if anyone might know off hand. Also if anyone has used the spa services for different massages if you could please post how much those cost it would be very helpful.
Pictures and any other little extras that most people don't think about, if you wouldn't mind including those as well. As a first time cruiser we just don't know what to expect and want to make sure we budget for what we really want.
Beer prices for domestic beer is around $4.50 per can. Mixed drinks range from $6.00 to $10.00, depending upon the drink, and whether you buy the souvenir glass. You'll save at least $3 of you ask for the drink in a regular glass. You can also save some cash if you order your beers 6 at a time with the beer helmet, used as a ice container. You will have to pay a deposit on the helmet, but you'll get 6 beers for the price of 5. Just remember to return the helmet the last night you are aboard, before they finalize your shipboard account.
Half off at the surcharge restaurants vary per ship, sometimes it's only available on the first night, sometimes before 6 pm, sometimes after 9 pm. So be sure to check your Freestyle Daily as soon as you are in your cabin.
Not all the specialty restaurants carry a surcharge. The only ones with a surcharge are
Le Bistro (French), Cagney's (Steakhouse), and Chin Chin (Asian including Teppanyaki and Sushi).
We have sailed the Jewel and you will have a great time. It's a beautiful ship.
The cruise line will require that upon checking in, to furnish them with a credit card so daily charges can go on your "ships card". Each passenger is given a "ships card", and when buying itmes on the ship you use the ship card. At the end of the cruise, your bill for all expenses charged to the "ship card" will be delivered to your stateroom, and those charges finally show up on the credit card that you presented upon arrival at the ship. You can check in at the pursers desk during the cruise and see what kind of balance you have. Tips or gratuities are added to the "folio" or bill each day for each passenger in your cabin. Drinks like soda's, mixed drinks, coffee, etc are charged to your ships card. On the Jewel we found Martini's running from $6.75 for a classic martini to $12.95 for the premium martini's. Mary and I like to drink a martini each noght before dinner and our average price was around $7.25. NCL offers a Martini clinic on the cruise. It's lots of fun, and you get a good number of different varieties for a low price of ususally $15.00...( check the Freestyle Daily for times and days offered) this is great for a party of 2. Regular drinks are priced from $4.50 and up. Expect to spend about $4.50 per average mixed drink. Sodas are priced at 1.75 per can, and always remember there is a 15% tip added to every item ordered at a bar, which includes sodas. Alcoholic drinks are a big source of revenue for the cruise line so be expected to be offered lots of drinks by the bar staff.
We found that bingo games are high priced for the number of cards offered. And we found that the casino was heavly in favor of the house on the slot machines. Very few paid off.
The SPA is expensive, but look for the specials and see if they offer a "day pass". It's usually a very good value. Massages, hot rocks, wraps, etc. are expensive and do not last very long for the session, compared to what you pay. Port days offer some good values for SPA treatments.
As for speciality restaurants, they are very good values with Le Bistro, Cagney's the best value and Chin-Chin. Remember you order off a special menu, and there is no limit as to quanity. The Jewel will offer some very nice dining opportunities at no charge. The specials for early dining start at 5:30 PM as most cruisers eat at latter times. So take advantage of the specials if you can. Cagneys is very good and would rate it as second best on the Jewel to Le Bristro.
Enjoying the specialty resturants is part of the cruising experience. On a 7 or 9 day cruise if you can visit 2 or 3 then you will be doing good. The Jewel offers lots of choices. We enjoyed the Tex-Mex dining and it's at no cost. The main dining rooms are very good and don't rule out the great buffet with food stations galore.
You will have the ships photograhpers taking photos all the time. The photo gallery is big and there is NO requirement to buy photos. Mary and I usually have a photo taken on the dress up nights as the photographers do a great job. Be advised the photos are expensive.
When in port use that opportunity to enjoy some low priced drinks, beers, sodas. You are allowed to bring back sodas or mixers on board, but wine or hard liquor is held until the end of the cruise IF you get caught bringing back on board. The ships water is very good to drink, so don't waste money on bottled water. When getting off the ship, you can buy bottled water in the ports. Consider the ports for using the internet, rather than the ships high prices and slow connection speeds. Many crew members use the off ship internet cafes and we have paid $3.00 for up to 15 minutes time usage off the ship. If you want snacks on board, like cheese and crackers, chips etc, buy them in a port and bring them back on board. Items like pizza, burgers, ice cream are plentiful on the Jewel.
I am sure that you will have a good time. Just be sensable with your spending, and remember what ever you need can be bought in a port of call.
Have a GREAT time on the Jewel.
Richard & Mary
Las Cruces, New Mexico USA
NCL Platinum Lattitudes members
Thank you all for your help! The more info I have the better my husband feels about the trip. He hates when we think it will be around one amount and we spend double. So I just try to be prepared for what things will cost.
We will definatly be trying out some of the speciality restaurants! They sound wonderful!
The Jewel is a jewel...we sailed on her when she was 5 months old....and now we are going on the Pearl...her newer sister ship...We ate in the main diningroom most of the time and were very happy with the meals served there...Just watch your drink bill...it can mount up very quickly....buy a diamond or a nice pearl and drink less:-)...my wife has a nice collection of both from our cruises...Happy sailing...
We just returned after 2 weeks on the Jewel, had a great time. The price of beer for a 22 ounce glass was about $6.50 including auto tip. No deposit for a beer bucket and you can get 6 beer for the price of 5, good deal about $25.00. I took a few down to the fridge in the cabin. Wine is not cheap, better to buy a bottle, if the bottle is not finished after the meal it will be re corked and delivered to any other restaurant at a later date on the cruise. All in all the drinks are not that expensive. Le Bistro was great and Cagney's was really good on a couple of occasions, however we had Lobster one night ($10.00 more on top of the already $20.00 service charge for the standard menu) the lobster was not good the body was very soft and the claws were the consistancy of porridge, could not be eaten with a fork way too soft. We saw more people complain and I was not impressed with the "excuse" given by the maitre d' who said she would talk to the chef, she really passed the buck and we were not happy. All the other restaurants were great,the shore excursions excellent and the staff fantastic, A really good cruise.