Norwegian Jewel balances complimentary dining and specialty restaurants. Several international cuisines are on offer, a boon for those who appreciate global flavors.
For complimentary dining, there is the buffet, two main dining rooms, four restaurants/cafes, and room service (ordering hot dishes incurs a $9.95 delivery fee). Located midship on deck 12, the Garden Cafe has the variety expected of a large ship. There is a hand-wash station at the entrance, and guests are encouraged to use it or hand sanitizer before starting. Spread over five islands and an additional long station, find fruit, a salad bar, two soups, pasta, fast foods such as pizza, hot dogs, and hamburgers, hot entrees such as grilled and roasted meats, an Indian station, and desserts. A few dishes highlight the current destination. There are also several action stations: salad, wok dishes, and pasta a la minute. Dinners often feature a themed special, Prime Rib or “grill extravaganza,” for example.
Garden Cafe is not as wide and open compared to newer designs, where the buffet usually occupies an entire section of the ship. Here, the dining area is squished along the starboard side, the tables and cheerful lime green chairs running the length of the windows. However, the setup is neatly laid out, comfortable, and easy to move around in. The easiest-to-access tables have a wheelchair sign designating them for accessibility. Guests can also take their meal al fresco, eating at The Great Outdoors at the stern, or poolside at Topsiders Grill. Both of these outlets are also complimentary. Topsiders does the usual burgers, hot dogs, and fries, while The Great Outdoors has a grab-and-go snack buffet for when hunger strikes.
If hunger strikes at an odd hour, head to O’Sheehan’s Neighborhood Bar & Grill, a 24-hour Irish pub wrapping around the atrium on deck 8. As expected, there’s beer on tap, leather booths, sports on TV. Find pub grub on the menu like chicken wings, loaded nachos, fish and chips, and cottage pie. Or opt for the daily comfort food special such as country fried steak or shrimp po’ boy. Pork pot stickers, beef chow fun, and lemon pepper shrimp are a few of the dishes at Chinese restaurant Chin Chin.
Jewel has two complimentary dining rooms. As the name suggests, Tsar’s Palace is the larger and more opulent of the two. The showy banquet hall-sized room has a seating capacity of 458. Upon entering, eyes are immediately drawn to the golden banister, golden nude statue, maroon carpet, white grand piano, green marbled columns, chandeliers, and faux sky ceiling. Tsar’s Palace is one of the two restaurants with a Smart Casual dress code. The daily menu is mostly European while a few global dishes add some flair.
At half the seating size, Azura is a more intimate dining room. The “cruise casual” dress code follows the rest of the ship, a surprise given the contemporary, elegant setting. Cool blue hues, bright white table cloth, and abstract art give this dining room a refined, upscale air. The menu is all about the classics. Think French onion soup, seared scallops, grilled New York strip steak, and stuffed peppers.
None of Jewel’s six specialty dining restaurants offer outdoor dining, though some have windows with sea views. Most accept a la carte payments, except Teppanyaki and Moderno Churrascaria, where it is a flat $49 per person cover charge. Otherwise, you can purchase a specialty dining package, which is worth it if you dine more than once or twice. The package can be applied to any of the specialty restaurants. The bigger the package, the better the value. For example, a 2-meal package is $89 per person, a 3-meal package is $119, a 7-meal package is $209.
Cagney’s Steakhouse is the most popular. An enormous open kitchen is the focal point of the restaurant that has all the American steakhouse classics, including oysters Rockefeller, Caesar salad, and certified Angus beef grilled the way you like. If going a la carte, the prices range from $39 for 8 oz. filet mignon and $35 for 16 oz. ribeye, to $75 for a 32 oz. bone-in tomahawk. Like traditional steakhouses, the steaks do not include a sauce ($3 each) or any side ($8 each), which can add up.
French restaurant Le Bistro’s fine dining set-up makes it popular for romantic dinners and celebrations. Like Tsar’s Palace, it has a smart casual dress code. It’s all about the French classics, with heavy emphasis on meat and seafood dishes, vegetarians and vegans beware. Rounding out the specialty restaurants: Teppanyaki, where diners watch as chefs prepare meat, noodles, and rice with gusto on a flattop steel grill, $49 per person; Sushi Bar, which is within Chin Chin, offering Japanese appetizers, sushi, sashimi; and Moderno Churrascaria, an all-you-can-meat extravaganza for $49 per person.
When it comes to interior design, the weakest dining room is La Cucina. Does the world need another Italian restaurant with bags of dried pasta, Illy coffee, exposed brick walls, and old pans on display? Though the ambience is lackluster, it will satisfy any cravings for the usual suspects of Italian carbohydrates: pasta, pizza, gnocchi, and risotto.
A 20% service charge is added to all dining.
Whether you prefer a draft beer, a dirty martini, a glass of bubbly, or a whiskey neat, Norwegian Jewel has a bar for it. Each bar highlights a specific tipple, from sake at the Sushi Bar to mojitos at Sugarcane Mojito Bar inside Moderno.
Deck 7 has three open-concept bars in a row, Malting’s Beer & Whiskey Bar, Shaker’s Martini & Cocktail Bar, and Magnum’s Champagne & Wine Bar, which has a small stage for live music. The spaces flow into each other, only defined by the change in carpet, chairs, and lighting. There is nothing wrong with this per se, just that it is not as exciting as it could be. On the newer, larger Breakaway Class Plus ships, the bars are designed to immerse guests in the theme. For example, on Norwegian Encore, which launched in 2019, Malting’s looks like a posh gastropub and has an attached cigar lounge, while Sugarcane Mojito Bar has Miami-Latin flair. Jewel does not lean into the fantasy.
The Unlimited Open Bar Package costs $109 per person per day and includes cocktails, spirits, beer, and wine under $15, and six 1-liter cartons of water per stateroom. It does not include room service, bottled water, specialty coffee, and fresh juices. For $138 per person per day, the Premium Plus Beverage Package covers it all: top-shelf cocktails and spirits, all beer, Champagne/wine by the glass, select premium bottles of Champagne/wine with dinner, and all non-alcoholic beverages. Guests residing in the same stateroom or additional staterooms under the same method of payment must purchase the same package; if individuals are under 21 they must have the Soda Package, $9.95 per person per day, an additional $3 to include juice. A 20% gratuity/service charge is added to beverage and beverage packages.