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Norwegian Jewel or Canvial Freedom?

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First time cruise. I have narrowed my choices to the Jewel or Freedom based on cost and departure port. We are 40's couple, very causal, the visits to the port are the biggest draw for us and both have good options. Like the idea of Jewels anytime dining and would prefer to sit at a table for two. Are there other pros/cons I may not have thought of?
Thanks for advice.

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    Yes. When are you going? What are the departure ports? What is the itinerary?

    Time of year obviously affects weather, and can really affect the cruise experience. Example: it looks as if most of NCL Jewel's Caribbean itineraries depart from Houston. Winter and early spring, the Gulf can have rough water with skipped ports. Fog can bring things to a halt.

    Time of year and length of cruise is also a determining factor for type of passengers. Short cruises may be more party oriented. Spring break will have more kids and college students. Long cruises have older people who have more free time. Cruises that include many archeological sites will attract different cruisers than cruises with mostly beach stops.

    Itinerary is very important for activities and sight seeing, but the ship itself can be just as important. Look at vacationstogo for pictures and specs on ships and itineraries. Join cruisecritic.com to read reviews of each ship and the various itineraries. You can also jojn the roll call for your cruise and meet other people you can join for excursions, so save money rather than taking expensive ship's excursions. Each Line has a reputation and even different ships within a line may appeal to different cruisers. Carnival has a reputation for party ships with louder music, etc. Jewel has Nickelodeon kid's program.

    Think about what you enjoy and look for a ship that provides that atmosphere. We chose a more upscale, quieter Princess ship for just DH and me, but a more fun, family oriented ship, NCL Epic, with a great kid's program for Cruise with little GD.

    Food varied tremendously from ship to ship. This can change over time, so you will want to read current reviews - not just for the line, but for specific ship.

    The cabin you choose can also be important - everything from super quiet to under one of the bars, or dance clubs, to near an engine with vibrations.

    If you have to fly to your departure port, go the night before - much less stressful than arriving just before the departure.

    Don't forget tips when you add up the costs.

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    We really enjoyed the Freestyle dining on our Norwegian cruise - in the main dining room we always had a table for two, and never had a problem dining at the time of our choosing.
    We preferred to eat there rather than the buffet-style meals, but they were an easy and casual option for those that wanted this.
    We didn't ever eat in the restaurants where you paid an extra charge to dine (they weren't the style of food we wanted to eat), but the extra charge was minimal if you wanted Japanese, Chinese etc meals.
    There was also another freestyle dining room in the evenings, and a bistro eating area at lunch.
    Plenty of options to keep everyone happy. Di

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