Back To Line

Norwegian Cruise Line: Norwegian Jewel

  • Norwegian Cruise Line
  • Norwegian Cruise Line
  • Norwegian Cruise Line
  • Norwegian Cruise Line
  • Norwegian Cruise Line
  • Norwegian Cruise Line
  • Norwegian Cruise Line
  • Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian Jewel Review

Insider Take

Overview

One of the better previous generation Norwegian ships - eclectic decor, many dining options, good entertainment.

Best For People Who Want

A flexible cruise experience, including flexibility in dining times, and a variety of selection for dining venues.

Should Be Avoided By People Who Prefer

Traditional assigned dinner seating and dining times, suggested dress codes with formal nights, and public address announcements regarding shipboard activities.

Onboard Experience

While I always considered myself to fall into the "traditional cruiser" category, my last two cruises, on NCL, and it's "FreeStyle" experience, have made me a believer. The Freestyle program is particularly effective on busy, port intensive itineraries.

While today's modern cruise ships are often referred to as floating resorts, no other cruise lines offer a product as close to that reality as that offered on the Jewel. The "Freestyle" program onboard is built around the multitude of dining choices offered, with no set dining times, or assigned seating.

The design, and layout of this ship's public areas is quite different from that you'll experience on the ships of other cruise lines of similar size. From outdoor pool decks, to bar and lounge areas, to public use corridors, the ship is designed to maximize useable space from the limited space available.

The core of the ship's interior "life" for passengers is on Decks 6 & 7, with only one wide corridor passing from stern to bow for passenger traffic on one side of the ship, rather than more traditional design of a corridor on each side. This design creates a "main street" within the ship, with access to most of the restaurants, bars, lounges, and casino along the route. And the heart of this "main street" is Bar City on Deck 6, sectioned by four different bar themes that flow together covering one large area. Bar City is the perfect location for pre or post dinner drinks, and people watching; and as the social heart of the ship's interior also allows you to accidentally run into familiar faces much more frequently than is the norm on ship's this size.

The heart of the outdoor decks is the area surrounding the Sapphire Pools on Deck 12. Within this area, there's a child's play area, an adult's pool (with waterfall), a central stage area, a water slide, a family pool, and on the sides under the overhangs of the deck above, a multitude of tables and chairs for al fresco dining during the day, card playing, or just sitting around a table socializing. On sea days there's even an area for casino games pool side.

On the Jewel, the cruise truly begins at sail-a-way with an enormous poolside barbeque (using large Weber style grills), while the band kicks off the cruise, and the drinks flow. Adding the barbeque to the traditional sail-a-way party serves to draw many more people to attend, and truly jump starts the liveliness of the cruise.

These barbeques are repeated several times during the cruise -when the ship is sailing early from ports of call.

On the deck by the Sapphire Pools one might think they are at a theme park, with covers over the Jacuzzi's and band stand, designed to look like carousels at the faire. Combined with lighting designed to look like large palm trees, it creates a very festive atmosphere.

Along the overhang poolside NCL also has misters, which occasionally expel a light cool spray of water, similar to what you'll find poolside at luxury land based resorts. The cooling spray is welcome on hot sunny days when the temperatures are rising, and the first I've seen on a cruise ship.

Cuisine

The choices for style of cruise onboard are broad. Traditional cruise dining fare, with menus changing daily is offered in two dining rooms (both with the same menus), and we found the quality to be quite good the evenings we dined there. But with seemingly unlimited choices of other restaurants to try, we found ourselves only "making time" for the traditional dining rooms 3 times on a 12 night cruise.

The best food on the ship could, not surprisingly, be found in two of the ship's alternate restaurants, where a surcharge applies - La Bistro, offering French cuisine, and Cageny's Steak House.

Mama's Kitchen, one of the cost included alternate restaurants, features an Italian menu, with an antipasto card carrying choices to begin your dining experience, pastas, pizzas, entrees, and deserts is a wonderful alternative choice, that is a must try during your cruise.

Another of the ship's alternate surcharge restaurants, Asian themed Chin Chin, offered delicious dishes, and enormous portions; order 2 dishes per person, and you have enough food to serve twice as many people. When ordering plan on sharing dishes.

We found the quality of the food in all of the restaurants we managed to sample to be of very good quality, and taste. Perhaps the biggest surprise were the excellent breakfast and lunch choices we sampled in the Garden Cafe, the ship's buffet dining area.

Tipping

$10 per adult per day and $5 per child are added to your folio automatically. Fifteen percent is automatically added to bar bills and spa services. NCL suggests that concierges and butlers be tipped separately in accordance with the services they provide.

Public Rooms

Bar City (one Deck 6), a continuous series of bars, including Maltings Beer & Whiskey Bar, Shakers Martini & Cocktail Bar, Magnums Champagne & Wine Bar, and the Corona Cigar Bar, is the gathering point to kick off the night life onboard. A pianist entertains at Magnum's, which provides background music for all of Bar City.

One deck above, on Deck 7 is the FYZZ Cabaret Lounge and Bar, where karaoke is the held each evening, and there's several private karaoke rooms which can be booked for small private group parties. During the day this lounge is used for several activities, including trivia games. One day as we passed by, we even saw people bowling, using the popular Wii gaming system on the big screen.

The Spinnaker Lounge on Deck 12, is the ship's disco, as well as alternate showroom. Any of the late night "theme parties", like the 50s dance night are held her, as well a late evening performance of the Second City Improv Troupe, comedy, or close up magic.

Also on Deck 12 is the Star Bar, a more intimate lounge, with a duo entertaining each evening. The atmosphere is relaxing and elegant, and it makes an excellent spot for pre-dinner drinks prior to dining at Cagney's SteakHouse next store. Likely due to it's location, The Star Bar is the quiet lounge onboard, so it's an excellent spot to use if anyone is planning get together with fellow CruiseMates met online.

The Java Cafe, is located in the expansive lobby area on Deck 5, across from the Guest Relations desk. Specialty coffees, and pastries are offered here, and each evening a quartet entertains with easy listening music.

The Internet cafe, open 24 hours a day, features eight computer stations. After an account activation fee of $3.95, the basic charge is .75 per minute. Frequent users do better with package rates: 250 minutes for $100 or 100 minutes for $55. Shorter plans the last day of the cruise include 15 minutes for $8.25 and 30 minutes for $12.

The ship also features wireless hot spots in public areas for guests bringing along their own laptops. In cabin service is available, but you'll need to bring along your own Ethernet cable for hook up.

The wood burl shelves of The Library groan happily beneath the weight of a good selection of self-help, sports, travel, science, history, fiction and children's books in multiple languages. Passengers can check out three at a time.

The Casino on the Jewel is located forward on Deck 6, just aft of the Star Dust Theatre. It is an expansive space, decorated in enough bright colors to keep even sleepy passengers wide eyed as they try their luck with games of chance. There's a multitude of slot machines, in all increments, as well as huge selection of table games, from the standard Caribbean Stud, and Blackjack, to tables for Texas Hold ‘Em.

Restaurants

The two main dining rooms, Azura and Tsar's Palace, seat 310 and 552, respectively. The very attractive Russian themed Tsar's, all royal burgundy, green, and gold, with chandeliers, marbled pillars and faux Faberge egg balustrades, is two stories tall, with fabulous huge windows aft. There are seldom lines, except for peak dining times (which can vary by cruise and itinerary) for either Tsar's or the smaller, sleeker, pop-art-decorated Azura. Reservations are not allowed at either of these two dining rooms, so it's first come, first served. Menus change daily, but are the same each day in both dining rooms.

Either Tsar's or Azura is open for breakfast and lunch.

The Garden Cafe and Great Outdoors buffet areas offer breakfast, lunch and dinner. Meals are always varied, occasionally with a culinary theme. Multiple serving stations are surprisingly efficient to preclude crowding, even on days at sea. Serving stations for breakfast include custom-made waffles and omelettes, while lunch and dinner feature pastas and sauces in the combination of your choice. The layout works so effectively that even when crowds were long, queuing for line ups was never necessary.

Le Bistro, the line's signature alternative restaurant, does French. Each of the other four other restaurants has its own specialty. Cagney's does steaks, Tango's Tapas does Tex-Mex; Chin Chin does Chinese, Teppanyaki, Shabu-Shabu and sushi; and we'll let you guess what Mama's Italian Kitchen does. Neither Mama's nor Tango's levies an extra charge. The others charge a modest $10 to $20. All are open for dinner. Cagney's, Chin Chin, and Le Bistro all halve their cover charge between 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. Le Bistro and Cagney's also offer a special "tastings menu" for an additional $10 per person.

On Deck 8, across from Tapas is the Blue Lagoon. Open 23 hrs. a day, for casual dining choices like burgers, or fish and chips.

In an impressive leap forward in the art of free-style dining, NCL's all original and innovative reservations system lets guests book tables 24 hrs. in advance for the all restaurants other than Tsars and Azura dining rooms.

Those who prefer to play it by ear will rejoice in the presence of more than a dozen television monitors indicating which restaurants have tables available at any given moment. Upon making a selection, the party is given a beeper, allowing them to wander the ship until their table is ready.

Service

The multinational staff on the ship is friendly and attentive in all service areas. We found everyone we encountered, from food service areas, guest relations, and officers (seemingly always visible on deck) attempted to make the extra effort to offer a smile, and a chat while offering top grade service.

Concierge service is available to those in Mini-suites and above, to assist in arranging your dinner reservations, or priority tender tickets where necessary.

Entertainment

The main entertainment venue, the Stardust Theatre, customarily packed, presents nightly Broadway and Vegas-style productions, comedy and magic acts, and a Cirque du Soleil-style aerial thriller, Cirque Bijou, including gymnasts, acrobats and bungee jumpers. Or you might prefer the justly celebrated Second City Troupe, which has produced many of North America's best-loved comedians the past few decades, including Martin Short and Rick Moranis.

Evening and late-night attractions include a 50s/60s dance and comedy show, the Not-So-Newlywed Game. and Liar's Club. On karaoke nights, the Fyzz lounge is a big favourite of families.

The visually busy casino's two hundred video games and slot machines include penny slots; to the delight of serious players, the craps tables offers Las Vegas betting odds. For the casino regulars, NCL offers a Casino At Sea program where players earn rewards or cash back based on their play. Just see one of the casino hosts onboard.

Cabins

The ship has 1,188 cherry wood-finished rooms broken down into 32 categories, a positively dizzying range best considered group by group. The largest group, with 1,008 rooms, includes inside rooms at 143 sq. ft.; ocean-view rooms at 158-166 sq. ft.; and ocean-view rooms with balcony at 205 sq. ft. All have safes, hairdryers, TVs and refrigerators, beds that convert from queen to twins, and the beds are wonderfully comfortable, and high enough to allows guests to easily slide luggage under the bed for storage during the cruise. High quality bedding, and duvets add to the creature comforts one enjoys in these cabins.

In standard cabins there's certainly enough closet space for two people on a seven-night cruise, though drawer space is minimal.

The only weak areas is the bathrooms in the standard cabin categories, and lack of a real desk. The bathroom, though well designed, broken into three areas, with the toilet separated by a sliding door to the central wash basin, and the shower on the other side; is small to the point of feeling cramped.

And though there's a table, and a small vanity desk and mirror, we missed a desk area with drawers, where we could store odds and ends, and electronic gear passengers normally carry with them.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, the two groundbreaking Garden Villas, 4,390 sq. ft., have living rooms, dining rooms, sun decks and three separate bedrooms, each with its own bathroom. Each Garden Villa sleeps up to six adults, two kids/adults in rollaway beds and three infants in cribs - great for a big family. The smaller (574 sq. ft.) 10 Courtyard Villas share a central courtyard with its own pool and small gym.

For those wanting something between the wonderful Villas and the regular inside/outside rooms, there are 168 Owner's Suites, Penthouses, Romance Suites and Mini-Suites.

Fitness/Spa

Body Waves Center, Deck 12, open 24/7, has 14 treadmills with their own TVs, more than 25 other pieces of fitness equipment, abundant free weights, and a large workout area with lots of aerobic equipment, such as steps and balls. The Bora Bora Health Spa and Salon, operated by Mandara, has 20 treatment rooms for such exotic treatments as algae detox, lime and ginger salt glows, coconut rubs, and milk ritual wraps, including three for couples. Men's and women's sides are set up with stream and sauna rooms, whirlpool, indoor lap pool, jet-current exercise pool, hydrotherapy pool, and Jacuzzis.

Children's Facilities

Norwegian Jewel is wild about them, as witness: interconnecting cabins, a kids-only pool and water slide, and the Splashdown Kid's Club, featuring a kid cinema and video arcade. Where most at-sea children's programs turn their backs on the under-threes, NCL welcomes even those in their terrible twos.

One of the two main central Sapphire Pools on Lido Deck is designated adults only.

The complimentary Kid's Crew program is organized by age group: Junior Sailors (2 - 5), First Mates (6 - 9), Navigators (10 - 12) and Teens (13 - 17). Families can gather in the Card Room for a game of Monopoly or Clue, sing together during family karaoke night, or compete in a "Family Feud" game show.

Attire

Determinedly casual, though T-shirts, shorts, and tank tops are forbidden in the dining rooms after 5 p.m., except for the Garden Cafe/Great Outdoors. There are "optional formal nights" held, and noted in the ship's daily. We were almost surprised to see perhaps as many as 20% of the passengers dressing formally on those designated nights.

Of course the temptation to leave the formal wear at home is great. Particularly with the airlines current weight limits on passenger luggage, if flying to the cruise, it makes packing and travel so much easier leaving the formal clothing at home.




Ship Overview

Launched in 2005 as the first in the Jewel-class of ships, Norwegian Jewel was also the line’s first ship that could be viewed as a total floating resort with a layout offering easy access to all public spaces. During the summer, the ship sails Alaska itineraries; during the winter she repositions to the Caribbean and sails weeklong trips.

Jewel-class ships were designed as the next step in the continuing evolution of Freestyle ship design: the interior location of some public rooms and restaurants has been tweaked since the introduction of Freestyle cruising vessels, and new categories of deluxe accommodations have been added.

These ships have more than a dozen dining alternatives, a variety of entertainment options, and expansive areas reserved for children and teens. Pools have waterslides and a plethora of lounge chairs, although when your ship is full, it can be difficult to find one in a prime location. Norwegian Pearl and Norwegian Gem introduced the line's first rock-climbing walls, as well as Bliss Lounge, which has trendy South Beach decor, and the first full-size 10-pin bowling alleys on modern cruise ships.

Norwegian Cruise Line set sail in 1966 with an entirely new concept—regularly scheduled Caribbean cruises from the then-obscure port of Miami. Good food and friendly service combined with value fares established the line as a winner for active adults and families. Innovative and forward-looking, Norwegian has been a cruise-industry leader for decades, and its fleet is as much at home worldwide as in the Caribbean. Several of the line's ships cruise Alaska's Inside Passage, including one of its newest, Norwegian Bliss.

Noted for top-quality entertainment, Norwegian combines action and high-energy activities as well as a variety of dining options in a casual, free-flowing atmosphere. Norwegian's freestyle cruising signaled an end to rigid dining schedules and dress codes. Norwegian ships now offer a host of flexible dining options that allow passengers to eat in the main dining rooms or any of a number of à la carte and specialty restaurants at any time and with whom they please. The ships' accommodations include some of the largest suites at sea, studio cabins for solo travelers, and a private ship-within-a-ship complex called The Haven, a more luxurious area with personalized service.

From a distance, most cruise ships look so similar that it's often difficult to tell them apart, but Norwegian's largest, modern ships stand out with their distinctive use of hull art. Each new ship is distinguished by murals extending from bow to midship.

What You Should Know

Pros

  • There are themed parties galore with no cover charge
  • The ship's tranquil library offers a quiet escape with a sea view
  • Courtyard Villa accommodations are like a ship within a ship and have a private pool area

Cons

  • There is a fee for use of the thermal suites in the spa
  • Freestyle dining doesn't mean you get to eat precisely when you want to
  • For such a large ship, the Internet center is tiny
Ship Stats
  • Crew Members 1,081
  • Entered Service 2005
  • Gross Tons 93,502
  • Length 965 feet
  • Number of Cabins 1,188
  • Passenger Capacity 2,376
  • Width 105 feet
  • New

Feb 7, 2017

Review of Norwegian Jewel

Leigh Age: 50 Occupation:Healthcare worker Number of Cruises: 1 Cruise Line: Norwegian Ship: Norwegian Jewel Sailing Date: 2016-10-18 Itinerary: Los Angeles to Mexican riviera It was a disaster from go to whoa Luke warm and tasteless food. One exception was the Brazilian themed restaurant The bed was uncomfortable and the seat was hard. The bathroom was a bit small. I am 6 feet tall so i struggled to dry myself in such a small space. Brian who was

our steward was very nice and he was good to us all trip. He made animals out of towels and other paraphernalia . We chose an Internet package and a food package. This entitled us to 250 minutes of Internet and 3 free meals at the restaurants that you had to pay to eat at. Our package that we booked had 4 meals but that was not what we received and when we queried at customer service they told us to contact the agent who booked the trip for us and that was like it or lump it. The Internet was ok but if you use twenty seconds for example they take a whole minute of time off the allotment. We looked at the excursions onboard . Because we come from another country our exchange rate to American is not the best so we were very mindful of this. The prices for the excursions started at 150$ per person to 250$ .We thought that was over the top so we did not book any excursion on the ship. We were supposed to make 3 stops at Mazatlan , Puerto Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas. Mazatlan was cancelled before we boarded because the ship needed maintenance which we were told would be carried out in Vallarta Two and a half days at sea. We disembarked down the gangway to the dock. We were asked by a tour guide hombre if we wanted a 3 hour tour for 20$ US. We agreed and we were 2 of 8 that they wanted for the minibus. They got two more people and then 4 more. We returned to the ship after visiting the town and went back to our room. The next day the maintenance was scheduled to finish at 5pm. It didn't finish til 11 pm and we were late leaving. The next morning the captain announced that were not stopping at Cabo because there was not enough time to get back to L.A. There was a lot of upset passengers and we heard a lot of stories which I cannot repeat here's. The management of. Norwegian decided to refund 25% of the fare. 50$ per stateroom, and 19$ for the non existent port charges at Cabo also the gave 25% off our next trip on Norwegian( NOT) Other general tips I can give are. Parents don't let your kids run in the ship, especially near the rooms. Thud thud thud. Also we got in one lift eventually to find three boys had pressed all of the floors and they took great delight in running down the stairs to laugh as the doors opened. We were going to the 4th floor sick bay where my wife had a cough and fever. We were charged 140 to see the doctor, 45 for flu test, and 57 for a strep test. The doctor said a cold. Do you have a fever for a cold....I didn't think so. Incidentally when we arrived back in L.A we flew to Houston and were taken to doctor where my wife was diagnosed with Bronchitis. Lol. While we were still on board I got some cold sores and my wife got pink eye . There are hand disinfectant things all over the ship but I guess some people don't use them 2500 people is too many to sail with in my opinion. This was a bad experience and anyone who reads this beware this is not a joke.

Read More
  • New

Oct 18, 2016

Los Angeles to Mexican riviera

It was a disaster from go to whoa Luke warm and tasteless food. One exception was the Brazilian themed restaurant The bed was uncomfortable and the seat was hard. The bathroom was a bit small. I am 6 feet tall so i struggled to dry myself in such a small space. Brian who was our steward was very nice and he was good to us all trip. He made animals out of towels and other paraphernalia . We chose an Internet package and a food package.

This entitled us to 250 minutes of Internet and 3 free meals at the restaurants that you had to pay to eat at. Our package that we booked had 4 meals but that was not what we received and when we queried at customer service they told us to contact the agent who booked the trip for us and that was like it or lump it. The Internet was ok but if you use twenty seconds for example they take a whole minute of time off the allotment. We looked at the excursions onboard . Because we come from another country our exchange rate to American is not the best so we were very mindful of this. The prices for the excursions started at 150$ per person to 250$ .We thought that was over the top so we did not book any excursion on the ship. We were supposed to make 3 stops at Mazatlan , Puerto Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas. Mazatlan was cancelled before we boarded because the ship needed maintenance which we were told would be carried out in Vallarta Two and a half days at sea. We disembarked down the gangway to the dock. We were asked by a tour guide hombre if we wanted a 3 hour tour for 20$ US. We agreed and we were 2 of 8 that they wanted for the minibus. They got two more people and then 4 more. We returned to the ship after visiting the town and went back to our room. The next day the maintenance was scheduled to finish at 5pm. It didn't finish til 11 pm and we were late leaving. The next morning the captain announced that were not stopping at Cabo because there was not enough time to get back to L.A. There was a lot of upset passengers and we heard a lot of stories which I cannot repeat here's. The management of. Norwegian decided to refund 25% of the fare. 50$ per stateroom, and 19$ for the non existent port charges at Cabo also the gave 25% off our next trip on Norwegian( NOT) Other general tips I can give are. Parents don't let your kids run in the ship, especially near the rooms. Thud thud thud. Also we got in one lift eventually to find three boys had pressed all of the floors and they took great delight in running down the stairs to laugh as the doors opened. We were going to the 4th floor sick bay where my wife had a cough and fever. We were charged 140 to see the doctor, 45 for flu test, and 57 for a strep test. The doctor said a cold. Do you have a fever for a cold....I didn't think so. Incidentally when we arrived back in L.A we flew to Houston and were taken to doctor where my wife was diagnosed with Bronchitis. Lol. While we were still on board I got some cold sores and my wife got pink eye . There are hand disinfectant things all over the ship but I guess some people don't use them 2500 people is too many to sail with in my opinion. This was a bad experience and anyone who reads this beware this is not a joke.

Read More
  • New

Sep 28, 2016

Alaska

I had always thought Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL) was a notch above the others, so I was excited when we booked our 10 day Alaskan Cruise on NCL. However, less than a week after we got underway, We couldn't hardly wait for the cruise to be over so we could get some decent food! My husband and I both questioned if the cruise line might be suffering financially and trying to save every penny they could. Overall, the food was never hot, and poorly

prepared, it often lacked flavor and at times was what as kids we called "mystery meat". Our friends refused to order beef after having a nasty textured hamburger. I sent back two rib-eye steaks, one tough one in the main dining room, and one that was tasteless, with one quarter hunk of fat in the Italian restaurant. I sent back the duck, it was raw, in the French restaurant. I couldn't eat the scrambled eggs in the main dining room. There was no consistency in what an item would taste like from one day to the next. Waffles good one day, inedible the next. The salad dressing was watered down. Pizza brought by room service had a half inch of cheese, was greasy and disgusting. I complained at nearly every meal, I was always offered an alternative. I expressed our displeasure with the food to guest services and was offered a free meal at a speciality restaurant. NCL staff member V, did you not hear me? The food was awful, why would I want more? They sent us a bottle of Merlot and a plate of little cakes and a couple chocolates that we left onboard. My husband doesn't drink alcohol, I don't drink red wine, and I'm not going to pack a bottle of red wine in a suitcase! A refund of the money we paid extra to eat in five speciality restaurants would have been more appropriate. Our stateroom was smaller than those on other cruise lines, although the shower was larger. We enjoyed a balcony stateroom. The bed was hard. Sitting on the sofa was like sitting on cement. The paint was chipped, and metal rusting in a few areas on the balcony. The safe didn't lock 90% of the time. However our cabin boy was awesome! Always friendly, called us by name and kept the room clean and supplied. We really didn't participate in any activities. We loved the helicopter tour of the Mendenhall glacier! Our seaplane tour of Misty Fiords was cancelled due to weather, but others went later and said it was great. The whole shopping deal in Skagway and Ketchikan was troubling, a lot of pressure to buy. Glacier Bay was the highlight of our cruise. For the most part we had great weather, and being one of the last cruises of the season, there were many sales for people who wanted to shop. With two exceptions, the staff is the real jewel on this ship. This was my second Alaskan cruise. There are too many other areas to see, so likely will not do another. Regardless, I will never again book a trip on NCL, dreading meal time really put a pall over the entire cruise.

Read More
  • New

Mar 4, 2016

Panama Canal

Be careful if you win anything from the spa. I won the big $150 credit worth $132 on a port day. The $18% tip is $27 on $150. I had a massage on port day and was charged the 18% as if it was a sea day. Anything from the spa is not free, even though they say it is. I was compensated from customer service with a bottle of wine. We booked a Miami city tour, 2hrs. ending at the airport ...$49 per person. The tour was just over one hour, due to delays

getting off the ship. You can easily walk off at this port if you are a light packer like us. There is a free people mover in downtown Miami. Saving chairs and sun beds on this ship was also a problem...we do not play this game so often could not find a chair at their excellent BBQ's. And pool entertainment. There were towels on chairs, but no person for hours. The food on this ship was excellent. The buffet was great and so were the dining rooms. The stateroom was small, but we knew that, and are well organized. The room and ship in general, is very clean. Our room steward was great. The onboard activities were good. The night shows were the best we have seen (21 cruises) The one tour we took, Miami city tour, was not great....expensive and short Overall we would choose Norwegian again as the food and entertainment were great. It was a healthy happy ship. I would have nothing to do with the spa or shore excursions. The room we were in, inside cabin was quiet, even though there was a service room beside it.

Read More

By Amy_CR

  • New

Dec 24, 2015

Mexican Riviera

So good things first: A.) This was our first cruise and the embarkation / disembarkation at all the ports (including LA) was fast. We were particularly worried about the disembarkation at LA because we had a flight to catch, but there were no problems there (ship arrived at 8am, we were at LAX with our luggage by 10:30am). B.) Food, entertainment (especially the acrobatics and the magic show) and on-board activities were great.

C.) Ports were gorgeous and felt very safe. Temperature at the ports were perfect for swimming but not too hot. D.) And last but certainly not least, our steward was very friendly and helpful. The folded towel animals were adorable! Now the bad (from least to worst): A.) Ship is gorgeous but noticeably aged. The toilet needed to be serviced our second day because it lost suction. The cabin door stopped locking after our third day. The toilet was fixed in 30 minutes. The non-lockable door took 2.5 hours to get a carpenter on-site (during which time we were stuck in the cabin to make sure our belongings were safe). B.) Don't expect lost keycards to be deactivated by guest services. We lost a keycard by the pool and went to guest services to get it deactivated and a new one issued. New card never worked (didn't open the door at all, after 3 trips to the service desk for a rep there to check). Old card was eventually returned to us by another guest. We were astonished to realize that it still opened out cabin door and scanned into the ship and the dining areas - guest services assured us it was deactivated immediately. And below you can read about our continuing saga with guest services: C.) Service on the ship was great everywhere except at guest services. General questions were fine (how do we disembark / tender, etc) but be prepared for an extremely unapologetic and accusatory attitude if you actually have a complaint. My sister and I were up on the 14th deck taking pictures of the sunset after we came back from Mazatlan and were unaware that the deck was booked for a private function. A man from the party that booked the deck told us to get off the deck less than politely. We are two petite sized females and didn't want to argue with other guests so we left. However, we felt uncomfortable that this happened and it certainly dampened our mood. Moreover, we were confused as to why a crew member wasn't there to inform us that this was the case and that another passenger essentially shooed us off the deck. Thus began our story. 1.) We went to the service desk to figure out what happened. The rep there told us the deck was indeed booked and gave us a freestyle daily to figure out which areas were closed at certain times. We thought maybe we were in the wrong and didn't read freestyle daily correctly. 2.) Freestyle daily had no mention that the deck was closed to the public. Now it seemed like the service rep didn't give us correct information. So we returned. And the second rep told us there would be no more of these private functions that would book out public areas. Still no mention of any apology that there was no crew to close off the area / explain. (There were private functions booked in at least 2 dining areas, one of which became closed to the public, after he told us this.) 3.) Guest service assistant manager came out. We explained the situation to him. He told us he was there around that time and didn't see us. Which sounded like he was calling us liars. We told him we have pictures during the sunset showing the time and place. At that point, he asked us if we wanted the guests from the function to apologize. No! We didn't have a problem with the other guests - they probably paid for the deck and felt equally confused as to why we were there. We just wanted an apology from NCL that this happened and more importantly, that there would be more clear information in the future so we wouldn't be put in this uncomfortable situation again. No apology given. He repeated that he was there and didn't see us. The entire experience with guest services changed what was originally curiosity and a hope for a just an apology (not monetary, just acknowledgement and reassurance) into what felt like accusation. It left a fun cruising experience with a bitter aftertaste and makes us seriously consider another cruise line even though we love the idea of freestyle cruising.

Read More

Cruise Forums

Have a cruising question? Ask our Fodorite community.

Cruise News

Read our latest news about cruises.

Store

Shop our travel guides on European, Caribbean, and Alaskan cruises.

Back To Top