Sail Date: August 2014
I have been taking cruise vacations for over twenty years and have come to the conclusion that there is no all-in-one perfect cruise, but you can save money and get more of what you are looking for with some forethought and research. This ... Read More
I have been taking cruise vacations for over twenty years and have come to the conclusion that there is no all-in-one perfect cruise, but you can save money and get more of what you are looking for with some forethought and research. This was our second Alaskan cruise and this time we were taking two of our grandchildren. We had taken a Disney cruise in January, and picked Norwegian because of their contract with Nicholodian thinking there would be more appeal for our 7 and9 year old grandsons. Overall this was a good choice, but don't go expecting Sponge Bob and Patrick to be ever present like the a Disney characters. This is still a cruise that caters to adults. The five star parts of this trip were the entertainers, shows, overall cleanliness of the ship, and easily the most attentive cabin steward that we have ever had. Somewhat disappointing was the age and decor in need of updating, and the food while tasty was not up to the usual gourmet cruise ship standards. The cabins are small partly because the bathroom are larger than on most ships with a tub shower combination instead of the usual micro shower. Beds were comfortable. Although smoking was restricted to the casino and balconies, my wife was upset by the noticeable smoke odors in many areas of the ship. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2014
This was our 6th cruise and our first on Norwegian. The Jewel allows too much smoking. The casino was a smokers paradise. Don't think about playing their Texas Hold 'Em, the rate is 25% on the live game and the the tournaments ... Read More
This was our 6th cruise and our first on Norwegian. The Jewel allows too much smoking. The casino was a smokers paradise. Don't think about playing their Texas Hold 'Em, the rate is 25% on the live game and the the tournaments are a joke, 2,000 chips and 100 -200 blinds for $60 with unlimited rebuys, unless you get lucky fast those chips will soon disappear and you'll wish you lost your money on the slots. Prior to embarkation we were told how great the food would be...NOT! When going on an Alaskan cruise we were excited and looking forward to tasting salmon prepared many different ways and for crab and seafood to be abundant. That was not happening, even in the many specially restaurants it was not the case. We dined one night in Cagney's Steakhouse and were surprised to hear that ordering an additional portion of any entree was an addition $10 charge for each choice. Don't get me started on the waiter there, my wife asked for lemon for her water and it never came. We both requested milk and that too was quickly forgotten also. The steak was perfect, the highlight of the meal. The deserts were sub standard and not fully cooked on one and simply too dry of a brownie on the other. There was no feeling of welcome, by any of the staff there. The $60 fee for our two dinners was very overpriced. On all other cruises we were offered at least one night of lobster in the included restaurants . They did serve pieces of it on top of linguine one evening. Expect the same menu every day in the buffets and don't expect any great food. O'Sheehan's had great chicken wings and the fish and chips were good. There were employees on board who were happy and friendly and seemed to be enjoying their jobs. Some bar staff especially were quick to call you by name and interacted pleasantly with all of our party of ten. If you like spending your money on long shot bingo cards you'll want to head to Spinnakers Lounge, one winner per card, at $40 min. a card. Later in the evenings they provided loud rap dance music for the younger set. It would have been nice to see more music geared to the 50 and over crowd. Poolside music was very good but it didn't last very long during the day and none at night. A childs pool with a slide and one small adult pool, usually in the shade, (did I say small? I meant to say very small) was a disappointment. There were many open lounges but not any that were real danceable. The stateroom was always clean however the attendant was not overly friendly. Rooms with a balcony could request and receive hair conditioner however rooms without a balcony were told none were available. Customer Relations, Shore Excursions and photo workers were helpful and knowledgeable.   Read Less
Sail Date: August 2014
This was our first cruise and our first time visiting Alaska. Norwegian Cruise Lines and specifically the Norwegian Jewel did a fantastic job from check-in to our return to Seattle. The crew from our room steward to the Captain were ... Read More
This was our first cruise and our first time visiting Alaska. Norwegian Cruise Lines and specifically the Norwegian Jewel did a fantastic job from check-in to our return to Seattle. The crew from our room steward to the Captain were welcoming, friendly and bent over backwards to make our vacation the most memorable one ever. The food was out of this world in all of the complimentary restaurants though we didn't eat at the Buffett much. The main dining rooms changed their menu daily and O'sheehans was great. The bed in our cabin was the comfiest bed I have ever slept on and the pillows were amazing, in fact I have tracked down the type used and ordered some for home. The shore time and excursions were great as was the time at sea spent on the ship. I HIGHLY recommend Norwegian for your next cruise adventure and we are already planning our next cruise. NORWEGIAN JEWEL ROCKS!!!!! Read Less
Sail Date: August 2014
August 23-30 was cloudy, drizzly, rainy, cool but we still managed to do all we had planned. Embarkation was a breeze. Our first cruise on NCL. 15th cruise in total. We were onboard having lunch in Tsar DR at 12:30 and at 1 we heard the ... Read More
August 23-30 was cloudy, drizzly, rainy, cool but we still managed to do all we had planned. Embarkation was a breeze. Our first cruise on NCL. 15th cruise in total. We were onboard having lunch in Tsar DR at 12:30 and at 1 we heard the announcement that the rooms were ready. Because of reviews about the food I had paid for the dining pkg and had made reservations ahead for Moderno the first night. I tried their Classic Caipiroska cocktail even though I am not a cocktail drinker but it sounded so different and it was very good. The salad bar is amazing. Be sure to try the mushrooms, hearts of palm and yellow beet salad. I had seconds of those. Don't take the bread from the buffet table, wait for the Brazilian cheese bread to be put on your table. Meat: lamb chop very good, chicken breast/leg very good, beef ribs excellent, all other meats (except sausage which we didn't try) were tough. Desserts okay. Sides were rice (plain), black beans, garlic mashed very good and fried sweet bananas excellent. Evening show introduced dancers, Nickolodian and comedian. Pretty good show. Breakfast in Garden Cafe early. Several omelet stations. Other cruises we've been on had only one and always a big line up so this was great. Breakfast was great. We noticed prime rib being served one evening and it looked really good but..we had the dining pkg. Tried bingo but as with other cruise lines it is overpriced. I am a bingo player so I know that to get a full card in 47 numbers is almost impossible. I play 3 times a week and I've never seen it done yet. So you might as well wait for the last session of the week when they offer a $1000 in whatever numbers it takes. 55 is definitely possible for a full card. It had been 30C when we left Seattle but the temperature had quickly dropped to 20C and continued to go lower over the week. The Seattle sun disappeared never to be seen but briefly again. First time we'd heard a ship's foghorn. Lunch in Tzar. Do try the roasted peach dessert if they offer it. That was the best dessert of the entire cruise! Dinner at Teppanyaki. Very entertaining but way too much food. Better than saying too little but a lot of waste of seafood, chicken and beef. Even the guys could not finish. Entertainment tonight was Duo Deja Vu, a couple from Russia who combined dance, gymnastics, acrobatic skills and even singing. Excellent. Do not miss it. Clocks back 1 hour tonight. Ketchikan: 16C, rainy and foggy. Breakfast at O'Sheehan's. Food okay, coffee undrinkable. (Do look in the Garden Cafe for the coffee units with the beans on top. Grinds your coffee fresh.) Bought ahead the tickets for the Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show from NCL because same price as at the show. 1 1/2 blocks from pier. Great show even in the rain. Get there early so you can sit in the tiered, covered section. Late comers are given a poncho and chair and seat in front to the side. Not as good a view. After show tour Creek Street. We even saw a fellow catch a salmon while we watched. Lunch at O'Sheehans. Chicken pot pie is excellent. Dinner at La Cucina. My husband loved the calamari, ossobuco and tiramisu and I enjoyed mixed salad, pork scallopini and rhubarb pana cotta. Show tonight was the comedian David Nester and he was very funny. Juneau: 14C and pouring rain. Breakfast again in Garden Cafe. Met 5 others as we had arranged a tour to the glacier which was less expensive with 7 of us sharing the cost. (Met through cruise critic roll call.) Explored Nugget Falls and Mendenhall Glacier. We were soaked even with rain ponchos and waterproof jackets under that. Back to ship to change and the rain stopped for a bit so we took the free shuttle into town and had lunch at Tracey's King Crab Shack because we had seen it a year ago on Top Chef. Expensive but if you like crab do go here. Look on their website so you know what to order. Ship left Juneau early and we sailed to Tracy Arms and up to the glacier in the bay. Fantastic scenery. We bought a balcony cabin just for this but it was rainy, cold and windy and we had to keep going in to get warm. The ship rotated in the bay so we saw all sides. Dinner at Cagney's. My filet was very good but my husband found his New York strip loin was tough. We did not see the show this night because it was a music night and we do not like loud music. Skagway: 15C and cloudy, but not raining! We had bought the NCL tickets for Best of Skagway and White Pass Railway. Expensive but definitely worth it. Bus trip up. Train down with the most amazing scenery both ways. Liarsville Salmon Bake and entertainment. Gold panning. Red Onion Saloon tour of upstairs where the madames entertained the guys. Stay in town after or the bus will take you back. You can see the ship from the corner in town but there is also a free shuttle. Dinner at Chin Chin. Appetizers were great. Entrees are what you would find in any Chinese restaurant. Not impressed and server was just not good, she had not been trained well. Deal or no Deal was fun. Show was comedy and magic of Jean Pierre Parent and he was very good. Clocks forward 1 hour tonight. Thursday was a sea day. Eggs Benedict in main DR were okay. Service was bad. Dinner at Le Bistro with 3 friends we had met on the glacier excursion. This was the best restaurant so far with the best trained servers so we booked it again for the next night. The pork was really good as was the steak, scallops, duck, everything any of us tried was very good. Show was Le Cirque Bijou. If you only go to one show, go to this one. Excellent! Victoria: cloudy but 19C and finally warm enough to go on the balcony and out on deck. Breakfast and lunch in MD and both times I left food. It just was not good and no one cared to even ask why I didn't eat it. The friends we had met lived in Victoria and they had made arrangements to disembark there so we met them and they gave us a tour of Victoria. It seems like a very nice place. Enjoyable tour. Dinner at Le Bistro was once again excellent. Last entertainment included all the singers and dancers. By the way, the casino closed at 9:30 that morning and did not reopen. Maybe has to do with not being in international waters from Victoria to Seattle? Seattle: We booked the NCL excursion Best of Seattle so were off early. Went up the Space Needle and toured Pike's Market and were dropped off at noon at the airport. Worth the price I thought. If you've read this far then you have probably guessed that we enjoyed the entertainment onboard, all of the shore excursions we went on and the ship in general. Our room steward was excellent. We were not impressed with the training the servers had received. We really expected that the females would be served first, that wine would be not be poured from across the table, that the plate would be presented with meat forward as it was set out by the chef, etc. but that only happened correctly in Le Bistro with Chin Chin being the worst. We will probably not sail NCL again but who knows. We seem to go with whatever line has the itinerary we want. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2014
The ship, crew, food and entertainment were great. As usual the drimks were expensive. The onboard activities were fun and the pool drck could accomodate all who wished to enjoy (this was not the case for our last cruise on Carnival. ... Read More
The ship, crew, food and entertainment were great. As usual the drimks were expensive. The onboard activities were fun and the pool drck could accomodate all who wished to enjoy (this was not the case for our last cruise on Carnival. Boarding and unboarding in Seattle as well as at ports of call was organized and efficient. The only thing we did that we would not recommend was gold panning on Sagway. Typical tourist trap that was not worth the money. On the other hand do not miss the whale watching in Juneau or the Duck boat tour in Victoria. (THE duck in Vitoria is significantly better than Ketchican). The lumberjack show in Ketchican was very enjoyable even in the rain (arrive early to be under cover.) The other word to the wise arrive at the pier for departure as early as possible the Seatle traffic in that part of town is terrible and the parking deck directions were not good. Get their by noon if you are driving. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2014
The tour group I was with had travelled to Seattle to join the ship on the Rocky Mountaineer. It was a great journey but due to delays were the last to board, despite this the team checking us in were efficient and very friendly even ... Read More
The tour group I was with had travelled to Seattle to join the ship on the Rocky Mountaineer. It was a great journey but due to delays were the last to board, despite this the team checking us in were efficient and very friendly even though we needed to get through the process quickly. This was the forerunner of the friendliness and efficiency that I would encounter during my time on the Jewel. I was travelling solo as part of tour group and had not had time to get to know any of them but I but did not feel lonely on the ship. The staff were friendly, helpful and welcoming. There was a good variety of entertainment and activities available and I tried to catch as much as possible and enjoyed all that I attended. The comedian and the magician were entertaining and really funny. The Russian duo were superb and Cirque du Bijou was amazing, considering they are doing this act on a moving ship they were better than Cirque du Soleil. I used the ships excursions on each port stop and again thoroughly enjoyed each one of them. Getting on and off and meeting the tour guides/buses was organised and easy. The tours themselves were great! I saw bears eating salmon, glaciers from the float plane and experienced speed dog sled style, what more could you ask for. After reading some reviews of the food this was an area I was a little worried about. But it was a wasted worry. I ate only in the included/complimentary restaurants - Tsars, Garden Cafe, O'Sheehans, The Great Outdoors - and the food was great; lots of choice, right temperature, well presented and most important of all...tasty and plenty of it. The bar staff were great and I had my favourite haunts - Topsiders during the daylight hours, sometimes the Spinnaker and Fyzz in the evenings (karaoke was fun but the Beatles tribute night was great and it would have been a great venue for another similar night) . The bar staff were great and I particularly enjoyed Fyzz bar and the ambience when there was an event there. The selection of drinks and cocktails was good and at Fyzz the bartender got to know my preferences and I got gorgeous lemon drop martinis even though they were not a menu that I saw. I had an inside cabin which was not what you would call spacious but it was big enough for me and would have been OK for a couple; and I did not spend that much time in there as there was too much to do/see/watch. My room attendant kept it clean and was so cheerful it was a joy to talk to her each day and the towel creations were a nice surprise to come back to. The Captains announcements were always worth listening to and it was clear he had a good sense of humour and wanted the passengers to enjoy the cruise. His appearances at the shows and introductions of the senior team confirmed his sense of humour and theirs as they did their 'turns'. The crew talent show on the second sea day was really good and hearing 'washy, washy' sing a serious song was great - have to say that the 'washy, washy, happy, happy' song will stay with me a long time and it always made me smile. The Fountains act by the Cruise Directors team was hilarious and how they managed to keep straight faces through it I do not know - I was crying with laughter. All in all a great cruise. Even disembarkation was a happy time - it was well organised and as we went off in groups we were greeted, or should it be farewelled by crew members - what a treat and such a nice touch of keeping the friendliness going until the last minute.   Read Less
Sail Date: August 2014
First off the Seattle airport is a giant pain. We had a very long walk to the baggage area and then there was a real confusing route to find the hotel shuttle. Two different elevators had to be found. We were helped tremendously by an ... Read More
First off the Seattle airport is a giant pain. We had a very long walk to the baggage area and then there was a real confusing route to find the hotel shuttle. Two different elevators had to be found. We were helped tremendously by an employee of Holland America who put our bags on his cart and took us to the shuttle area. We were NOT on his cruise line but he helped us anyways. Where were your people Norwegian? The Norwegian Jewel is a decent ship. We were struck by the difference in the professionalism of the crew when compared to Royal Caribbean. If we had never traveled with RC there probably would have been no problem but, we have and there was. It was just a lot of little things. Dirty dishes left on tables, wrinkled napkins, requests had to be made for table items, vanishing waiters, mediocre food for the most part, waiters who didn't know what was in the "Drink of the Day", waiters who vanished in the lounges, zero knowledge of the cigars in the cigar lounge, unhumidified humidor, the guys in the fitness room were very unfriendly, noticeable areas of rust and rusty nuts and bolts, and on and on. As I said if this had been my first cruise I probably wouldn't have taken notice BUT my wife and I have come to expect more and we get the higher level on Royal Caribbean The cruise itself was great. Beautiful weather and a top job by the Captain and his people. The shows were fine as well. In an industry that is this competitive it is the little things that make the difference and it is these lack of caring for these little things that will stop me from cruising Norwegian again. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2014
I title my review "better than expected" because after reading some of the recent reviews of the Jewel before I departed I was expecting a mediocre or subpar dining experience, I must say that I was pleasantly surprised as the ... Read More
I title my review "better than expected" because after reading some of the recent reviews of the Jewel before I departed I was expecting a mediocre or subpar dining experience, I must say that I was pleasantly surprised as the dining options and the quality of food were well above average in all of the free dining facilities including the buffet. My wife and I preferred Azura over the Tsars main dining room because it had a more relaxed feel and the kitchen was adjacent so the soup came out piping hot, however we had excellent meals in both. I have been on many cruises prior to this one including a couple before on Norwegian and the embarkation/debarkation process went as well as any of the prior cruises. The ports of call were great, albeit a little rainy at times, the best shopping was definitely in Ketchikan and Skagway, my one tip for Victoria B.C. especially for those on a budget or with younger children is the Beacon Hill Park (no entrance fee) as it has a petting zoo and beautifully maintained grounds and gardens to relax in, and a bandstand with a pretty good band, at least the day we were there. The main showroom entertainment was a little lacking, the one female comedian was marginal and the magician/comedian was not much better, the production shows even though they did have a couple good singers were a little on the amateurish side at times except for the Le cirque bijou which was the only true professional production. The staff for the most part were very helpful and polite, however FWIW there was something a little odd on this cruise that I am a bit reluctant to mention in this politically correct age we live in and that is many of the staff that ran the activities on board were more than a little over the top flamboyant (gay). I didn't think much of it until the 4rd or 5th day while at one of the trivia sessions when a couple teenagers were making wisecracks about the cruise member running the trivia game extreme effeminate behavior, then a couple that I had met on the first day of the cruise that were sitting next to me mentioned that this was apparently a "gay friendly cruise" mentioning the friends of Dorothy meetings on board every day. I had seen in the daily rundown of activities things like the friends of Bill W will meet here or the friends of Ruth X will meet here and also the friends of Dorothy, but I thought they were just large groups that had booked and were throwing private parties, I learned from them that the friends of Dorothy is apparently a gay/lesbian group. My wife and I have no problem with this, but then again our kids are all grown up, that's why I say FWIW since there may be future cruisers with children that may want to look into this before booking? All in all I give this cruise a solid 4 star rating, had the entertainment been a little better then it would have easily been 4.5 or 5 stars. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2014
My husband and I have been on many cruises with Princess, Royal Carribean and Holland and this was by far the worst week we have ever spent. They couldn't give me a cruise to anywhere I would want to go to ever have me cruise with ... Read More
My husband and I have been on many cruises with Princess, Royal Carribean and Holland and this was by far the worst week we have ever spent. They couldn't give me a cruise to anywhere I would want to go to ever have me cruise with this cruise line ever again. There were hot tubs and ones marked "children only" and not only did they use those but they took over the adult ones and not one cruise person would do anything about it. We purchased the all inclusive alcohol package and while in port in Seattle we tipped extra and then we got charged a sales tax. However, no one told us not to tip extra in fact when they give you the slip to sign there's a spot for extra gratuity so we gave and at the end paid an extra 35.00 we shouldn't have had to The food was nothing at all what we have experienced on other cruises, pretty boring and even the dining at dinner was nothing spectacular which we have experienced on the other cruise lines. And to get coffee is the biggest joke I have ever seen, the set up area is hideous, no organization whatsoever, everyone is bumping into each other because it's a small little area on either end of the dining room and the cups are so small 10 ozs - it's like really give me a break. My 2 friends and I went for messages and immediately it's let's see what we can sell you and they hound you till you leave. My friend had a facial and she wanted to leave but the girl kept her by insisting on showing all kinds of their crap for sale for outrageous prices which she ended up buying one product to get out. We got home and she found it 17.00 cheaper on the internet talk about a rip off. Overall we were never so glad to get back and felt like it was a big waste of money for this cruise. We plan on doing the same Alaska cruise next year on a more professional cruise line so if you want to enjoy your cruise don't go on Norwegian!!!   Read Less
Sail Date: August 2014
OK, first off, I very rarely write reviews. But after reading so many bad reviews about this cruise I decided I would write one as well. Maybe because I read the reviews before going, I was not expecting a lot in regards to the food. I ... Read More
OK, first off, I very rarely write reviews. But after reading so many bad reviews about this cruise I decided I would write one as well. Maybe because I read the reviews before going, I was not expecting a lot in regards to the food. I agree with most of the reviews about the food in the main dining halls. We went to the Garden Café way too many times. My daughter liked the food there and the ability for her to choose anything. The food there was decent. Some items better than others. We went to Tsar's Palace once. The food wasn't great. It was ok. My daughter's hamburger was raw so she didn't eat anything. We ordered room service a few times and that was definitely the best way to eat with the complimentary dining options. We had dinner the first night in the Teppanyaki Room and that was well worth the upgrade price. My wife and I really enjoyed the dinner there. My 6 year old did not, but she is so picky we didn't expect her to like much of anything there. The next night we had dinner at Cagney's Steakhouse and loved it so much we went back the very next night again. I can't say enough about how good their steaks were. I could have had that every night of the cruise if we hadn't decided to explore many of the other options. Deserts here were by far better than any of the other dining locations. Our next to last night we had dinner at La Cucina and were disappointed. We figured after the great meals at the previous two specialty dining we should be pleased here, but were not. The Italian meals were no better than what you get in the Garden Café or Tsar's Palace. Heck, I would have preferred to eat at Olive Garden instead! Save your money and go to Cagney's. We also had some great meals at the ports. In Juneau, don't miss out on Tracy's King Crab Shack. It's literally just a couple of shacks just off the port where you dock. They had the best Alaska King crab legs I have ever had!   Read Less
Sail Date: August 2014
This was a father/son trip. My son was 7yo at the time of the cruise, and I was 36. We departed from Seattle, the Marriott Waterfront hotel is directly across the street and was an easy walk for us to make. The cruise ship had it's ... Read More
This was a father/son trip. My son was 7yo at the time of the cruise, and I was 36. We departed from Seattle, the Marriott Waterfront hotel is directly across the street and was an easy walk for us to make. The cruise ship had it's +'s and-'s. The staff was absolutely wonderful. Everywhere I turned there was scaring and eager staff member. The food was neither lights out great, nor run of the mill. The food was fresh and tasty. The endless soft serve ice-cream was a popular stop for my son....and I must confess that I never protested stopping by the ice-cream machine. We really got a kick out of the ice sculptures and fruit animals. They really tried to make the food fun. The Czars dining room is spectacular. The peking duck was very nice. Our cabin was an ocean view, as seen between two life boats. It was what one would expect from a cruise ship cabin. The ship itself was very nice. I wasn't crazy about the kids program, and only had my son there one day. The Nickelodeon character events were fun for the younger kids. The pool area was very ordinary and my son had little desire to hangout. My son did enjoy the large outdoor chess board, the golf driving range (though it wasn't all that convenient) and the shuffle board. The comedian and magician were wonderful sources of entertainment during the cruise. The shore excursions were AWESOME. Panning for gold in Juneau was outstanding and a must for anyone traveling with little boys. Also, the Lumberjack Show in Ketchikan was unforgettable, and an absolute must for anyone who hasn't ever seen such a show....and for those traveling with little ones. These events were fun for the entire family. Also, when in Ketchikan look for the works of local native furrier Christy Ruby. I bough a seal/otter trapper hat and a seal/otter purse. Both were gifts for dear friends, and I've never been so popular! If you don't have time to shop in Ketchikan, you can also find her work on Etsy.com   Read Less
Sail Date: August 2014
Four of us were on the NCL Jewel to Alaska from Seattle August 16-23. It was a fantastic experience and our weather was sunny and delightful. We stayed overnight in a hotel at Seatac airport and then took a shuttle to the port on Saturday ... Read More
Four of us were on the NCL Jewel to Alaska from Seattle August 16-23. It was a fantastic experience and our weather was sunny and delightful. We stayed overnight in a hotel at Seatac airport and then took a shuttle to the port on Saturday around 11 a.m. The embarkation process was very smooth, even though there were a lot of people getting there at the same time. We were able to drop off our hand luggage in our rooms and then go to lunch and a tour of the ship. Our larger suitcases arrived before dinner. We had a midship oceanview room on deck 5 and the other two in our party had an oceanview room with partial obstruction on deck 8. They still had a good view over the lifeboat. The meals in the buffet were good, but it’s usually very crowded. There is enough seating because they also open the La Cucina restaurant for overflow during breakfast and lunch. We ate dinner in the main dining room, Tsar’s Palace and the service was great. The food is really good—but no lobster on the menu. There was some seafood and fish every night, plus prime rib, chicken and vegetarian entrees. We did not eat in any of the specialty restaurants. NCL is freestyle dining so we would arrive for dinner whenever we wanted. There was not a very long wait usually. NCL is not having the chocoholic buffet anymore since they have come out with new menus recently. Instead, on one night of the cruise all the restaurants and dining rooms have about six chocolate desserts on the menu. Our first port of call was Ketchikan and it’s a cute little walkable town. My husband and his sister took a flightseeing bear watching trip from NCL on a seaplane and they loved it. My daughter and I walked around Ketchikan and saw the salmon ladder and did a little shopping. There are many stores, especially jewelry stores, and if you need a fleece lined jacket for the trip, that’s the place to buy it cheap. Juneau was next and we all did an NCL whale watching/Mendenhall glacier excursion. Juneau was a very short day, leaving port at 1:30 pm, but we really packed in a lot that day. The excursion was excellent—they guaranteed we would see whales and we saw a lot of them. Sea lions too. Then we got back on a bus and went to Mendenhall glacier. We walked/hiked on a paved path to get closer to the glacier and a waterfall. Although our weather was perfect, it had rained a lot the day before and the trail was flooded in some places. We managed to walk it and it was worth it to see the glacier and waterfall up close. Back on the ship and we cruised to Sawyer glacier, which was an absolutely beautiful trip to get there. They opened the forward section of deck 8 outside for us to view the glacier, or you could see it from other places on the ship indoors or out. Then the ship made a 180 degree turn (amazing something that size could do that) and back out we went. Skagway was our last port in Alaska and we took a private tour with Dyea Dave. A van picked up about 12 of us and we went into Canada’s Yukon territory, stopping at lakes and seeing the mountains. We did not do the railway but some people on the van did go back that way. The tour was good and the guide stopped at a lot of places for great photos. We had lunch in a little town in Canada. Victoria is a very pretty city. We had been there before so my husband and I walked around, having shared a taxi from the port to the city center. We went to the ‘castle’ and toured inside, which was interesting. The other two in our group went to Butchart Gardens with an NCL tour and it was a perfect day. Our weather was great, no rain in any of the ports or in Seattle. We even got to lounge at the pool in 80 degree weather. The pools are heated too. We look forward to going back to Alaska again and to sailing on NCL too.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2014
This was our first cruise ever and not knowing what to expect, I read a lot of reviews here on Cruise Critic. Now that I am home, I knew that I wanted to give a current and accurate review of our experience; one that reflected my ... Read More
This was our first cruise ever and not knowing what to expect, I read a lot of reviews here on Cruise Critic. Now that I am home, I knew that I wanted to give a current and accurate review of our experience; one that reflected my husband's and my views. First off, I must say that we soon discovered that we are not the "cruise type" of people. The constant hype to constantly spend more money really turned us off. We saw many disadvantaged people coaxed into spending lot of money for "extra" that no one needed. While we may not cruise again, I hope that this review reflects the wonderful time that we did have, while turning a blind eye to the constant nagging to spend more. Boarding: Wow! Boarding in Seattle on a hot Sunny day was the best ever! The Seattle waterfront is beautiful having a few hours to enjoy the pool deck, explore the ship and enjoy Seattle was perfect. Boarding was a breeze. Everything is so efficient that we only spent about 15 seconds waiting in line during the entire boarding procedure. It felt a lot like lines at Disneyland walking and walking around turns and styles to get to friendly people who would check ID and get us on board. Everyone was friendly and nice. The Ship: We boarded at noon and there were still people waiting to be picked up that had just gotten off. How they can turn around so fast, I have no idea. Once we boarded we went up to Deck 12 for lunch and sunny views. Lunch was so-so, but was expected. As the rest of the people boarded we sat in the sun and waited for our rooms to be ready. The ship was spotless and all staff were friendly and relaxed. The ship's movement did not bother me but we did feel it. I found it a bit uncomfortable while packed into the theatre with other people and we would tilt to the right or left. I needed no motion sickness medication. Cruising and Food: Once we were underway, the entertainment began poolside. Let me say that the entertainment did not stop until we disembarked a week later. Shows, bands, singers, dancers, acrobats and more were constant on the ship. If you would like to be entertained you will be. I mostly wanted to stroll, read and look at the water. We found the food to be excellent. That said, it took a bit of work to find the best way to eat based on the time of day. For most lunches and dinners we ate at Tzar's Palace. The service was outstanding and the food fantastic. Most times we had a window to the ocean and were never pushed to eat faster. It was top notch. Other times we ate at the buffet on deck 12. We found that if we got our plate of food and headed out to the back of the boat and ate outside, we avoided the masses and noisy kids. We only ate one meal off the boat the entire week. Excursions and Ports: We did not do any cruise sponsored excursions. They are overpriced and hyped to much onboard. We only spent money off ship if we could support local people. We would get off the boat and walk mostly. Twice we found local taxies and got a tour for 1/4 the price that the ship had offered. We asked each business if it was locally owned and only spent money there. Often, there were up to 5 cruise ships in port at the same time. We would let most people be herded off the boat and then we would leave. We would walk the docks, neighborhoods and local parks first. Ask for local interests and then maybe pick an excursion of our choice. Shopping locally was important to us. Other thoughts: Half of the ship population was not from the USA and I found it refreshing. When we sat near people, we had to ask if they spoke English. I found only 2 staff that were American. I read later that Americans won't work that hard or put up with the conditions. That said, all staff spoke English and were open and friendly. We always tried to get beyond the surface with people and everyone would open up a bit and take more time with us. Our room attendant was so-so but we never had an issue with the room. Internet: Don't buy the package. They charge 75 cents a minute and except for when I had cell service, I used that. My grandson has surgery while I was gone and so I hopped on a bit. My phone gave me what I needed when I had service and we went to the public libraries in Juneau and Skagway where many cruisers found a way to write long emails home. Lastly: On my last night on board, I developed a bladder infection. We hot tubbed in the a afternoons. I checked out the ships medical resources but chose not to use them because, there again, the expenses were outrageous and no insurance was taken. I toughed it out till we got off the next morning. That night was tough and took my thoughts to places I did not want to think about. If I had an emergency, my only option was to call 911 onboard and alert the entire crew. The medical facilities were not open more than a few hours a day. My advice is to go to your doctor ahead of time and get any meds or emergency supplies that you may possibly need. Be self sufficient as possible. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2014
This was my 11th cruise, and my first (and probably last) cruise with Norwegian. I have heard that the Norwegian Pearl is better than the Jewel, but I'm not sure if that's saying much. The Jewel needs a lot of work. The staff is ... Read More
This was my 11th cruise, and my first (and probably last) cruise with Norwegian. I have heard that the Norwegian Pearl is better than the Jewel, but I'm not sure if that's saying much. The Jewel needs a lot of work. The staff is very up and down as far as service goes and some were just plain rude and nasty (don't bother going to the Guest Service Desk-very nasty people). Our room steward must have been new (like it was his first cruise ever) because he left a lot to be desired. At one point, my husband had to find us towels (they kept disappearing from our room and were not replaced) and after 2 days we started getting our own ice so we had had some ice and cold water in the room to drink. He made the towel animals out of our WET TOWELS and left them on the bed so our bed had a nice wet spot in the middle. The food in the main dining rooms (Azura and Tsar's Palace) was just plain awful. I think they are doing this on purpose so you have to pay extra to eat at the alternative restaurants (although those are not that much better either). Their Garden Café Buffet was really the only edible food on the ship (it really wasn't that bad especially for buffet food). The Tsar's Palace sign in area for dining needs to be reconfigured because the desk is right outside of the elevators and in the middle of everything. They should put it down the stairs in front of the doors OR shut off the middle elevators during prime dining hours so you don't have people getting off the elevators in the middle of everyone standing around waiting to be seated (that's a whole other issue it itself). The ports of call and the excursions we took were AMAZING and the whole trip to Sawyer Glazier was the most amazing site you'll ever see. You just might want to take the cruise to Alaska on another cruise line (maybe Carnival or Holland America). I really wish I could say the ship experience was better, but it just wasn't. Also (and finally) they should carry more than just Pepsi products. I couldn't count the number of people that were scrambling for Coke products at the ports of call! They were lined up at the vending machines and anywhere else they could get a Coke or Diet Coke. This may be a little thing, but to some it was a pain. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2014
I had only been on one other cruise, to the Caribbean with Celebrity, so wasn't sure what to expect with NCL. I was very pleasantly surprised. Embarkation was handled very smoothly. Our balcony cabin was midships and although quite ... Read More
I had only been on one other cruise, to the Caribbean with Celebrity, so wasn't sure what to expect with NCL. I was very pleasantly surprised. Embarkation was handled very smoothly. Our balcony cabin was midships and although quite small was extremely well designed with plenty of storage space. The ensuite was fine for Mum and I but someone over 6ft tall and/or more than about size 20 (UK) would struggle with the height and narrow doors. We ate mostly in the main restaurant. The service could have been a little more professional but everyone was very friendly and apart from once we always had a window table. The café would get very busy early on for breakfasts but we always found a seat quite easily. We ate breakfast in the main dining room on sea days. The Azura restaurant was nice but much noisier than the main restaurant. One night we ate at La Cucina which was very good. Disembarking for trips was so easy. I could never understand where everyone else was. Perhaps they stayed on board or left later. We took the early times for trips which gave us time to walk around the towns after the trip. We did the float plane trip to Neets Bay from Ketchikan, the Mendenhall Glacier at Juneau, the White Pass Train in Skagway and Butchart Gardens in Victoria. All extremely highly recommended. The only really disappointing thing was the entertainment. The sound systems weren't great. The stage settings and the performers seemed a bit amateur. Alaska is an amazing place and I would love to go back. I would certainly consider NCL in future. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2014
This cruise was our only summer vacation; and we were all very excited for this prime destination and for some quality family time on board the Norwegian Jewel. We are a family of four, and we have also invited a set of grandparents to ... Read More
This cruise was our only summer vacation; and we were all very excited for this prime destination and for some quality family time on board the Norwegian Jewel. We are a family of four, and we have also invited a set of grandparents to share some "fun" time with us. This was our fifth cruise, and all the other cruises were nothing but great experiences (including on NCL in Hawaii - one of the reasons to be back on NCL, right?). This ship was the dirtiest we have been on. The state rooms were very small, and so were the lounges on the ship. The cabin was dirty and small. I had to wipe the shelves in the closet before placing my clothes in them. The light at the entrance into the cabin wasn't working and the room steward tried to explain to me that I did not need it. I had to use a flash light to find my clothes on the shelves. I had to ask again to be fixed and it was done after three days. The open decks, pools, and hot tubs were useless because, even though we had no rain at all (how lucky!), due to 50 degree weather and high winds - quite typical for Alaska - they were uninhabitable! The pool area should really be indoors, considering the destination. Everybody was crowded inside. At meal times it was impossible for our party of six to sit together at the buffet, unless we got there right when it opened. If you were hungry later, tough luck! So much about our family time! Not to mention that the food, neither in the dinning room, nor at the buffet was great. Except for the first day, the rest was mediocre the most. "Baby" back ribs felt like "grandpa pig"; very little seafood was served (what happened to the famous Alaskan king crab, halibut?), and no vegetables. Last day's dish of red snapper in the dinning room came with a tea spoon of mashed potatoes and two tiny slices of zucchini. The soups were the worst of all. I guess one has to go eat at the specialty restaurants if he/she wants a decent meal. After I payed a few thousands (five figures!) for the six of us, I shouldn't have to spend more for a quality meal. The staff tried their best to be nice, but some just spoke too little English. The minute we requested something out put of their norm, they wouldn't understand. Entertainment on the ship was nice, even above expectations. I feel that the value I got for the money was not adequate. Family from Colorado Read Less
Sail Date: July 2014
After having been on European, Mexican Riviera, Caribbean and Bahamas cruises, an Alaskan cruise was one we have yet to go on. We left from Seattle and it was definitely more convenient than flying to say NYC, Miami or Europe as we live in ... Read More
After having been on European, Mexican Riviera, Caribbean and Bahamas cruises, an Alaskan cruise was one we have yet to go on. We left from Seattle and it was definitely more convenient than flying to say NYC, Miami or Europe as we live in California. The Jewel was actually our 7th NCL cruise (my parents are loyal to NCL) and we actually just got back from the Jade not too long ago. For starters, the Jewel is a sister ship to the Jade and the layout is completely the same except Jewel has an O'Sheehans (the 24 hour complimentary spot) now while Jade still has Blue Lagoon. Check-in was pretty fast for us as my parents are Gold Latitude members and this allows for priority checkin. we had a balcony room at the forward of the ship and the room was decent even though it can feel cramped at times due to the lack of space for walking. I thought the food was ok-decent at the buffet even though as predicted, it's always the same recipe but with different meats (think curry chicken, fish in curry, curry beef etc). It was very interesting how unlike the other cruises I have been on, they have a designated ice cream server for you. I am guessing they do this on the Jewel because people (guessing little kids) would waste a lot of ice cream or something. We only went to the sit down restaurant once (I believe it was Azura) and the grilled shrimp was delicious. The waitress was enough to put the grilled shrimp with my sirloin steak. For breakfast and lunch, I actually ate at Moderno's as my parent's Latitude Gold allows us to dine there for free for breakfast and lunch. For breakfast, there's French toast, waffles, 2 eggs any style with sausage and bacon, petit steak and eggs, a lobster and shrimp toast dish and others. There's also a buffet of pastries, fruits, cereal, and others and I know I love the chocolate croissants. I thoroughly enjoyed the steak and eggs and the waffle with berries. We also ate at Moderno's for lunch everyday and just about every day, I had the steak with fries and they were delicious. For dessert, I tried the banana cream pie, brownie with pecan ice cream and marinated berries. I recommend all 3! The sword fish burger was okay. I also tried Moderno for the first time ever and I really enjoyed it. I really like the filet mignon, the bacon-wrapped chicken and garlic beef. The salad bar was also good although I like to think it was a ploy to try to get you full before you get to the main course. I think I was already 30% full from the salad and soups. As for the staff, it was a mix bag. The concierge Bruno Dentone was an awesome guy that always greeted my parents and I when we went to Moderno's for breakfast and/or lunch. Some of the Moderno servers were also nice to us and would chat with us also. On the other hand, besides our housekeeper, none of the other ones ever greeted us as we passed them. I though the waiters in the casino were also meh as they never seem to smile or say much of anything when I ordered a drink with my free drinks card. It's like I feel like I was bothering them or something.,,and I always smiled and said thanks also. I also thought some of the rec staff was meh as well. During events at the Spinnaker Lounge, it's like the staffers would hope that people stay on the dance floor but yet they either don't even interact with anyone on the dance floor (with the exception of talking to girls) or they just stand near the bar and chat with fellow staffers or they are on the dance floor for a couple mins and then hang out in the back to chat with staffers. It's like...how you gonna be encouraging people to get on the dance floor when you, as a staffer, don't even go on it? For the stops, it rained when we were at Ketchikan and Juneau. This obviously made walking around town a little difficult. There's also a free shuttle that takes you to downtown shops in Juneau. According to the locals, rain was typical. It didn't rain when we were in Skagway and Victoria. For Skagway, there's a shuttle (costs $2/person one way) that takes you downtown but you can just walk there if you want to exercise. For Victoria, you can take a shuttle ($10/person roundtrip) that takes you downtown and you walk around town. We went to Chinatown and also the Empress Hotel and the harbor area. That area was beautiful. I thought the Jewel was a nice ship (tho it doesn't have a rock climbing wall!!) and the food was decent but staff was meh at times. And no, there was no lobster in buffet or in Azura or Tsar's dining room. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2014
This was the first cruise my husband and I have ever taken. The cruise was arranged through Country Family Reunion and Larry's Country Diner and therefore they chose the cruise line. I had read numerous reviews of the ship prior to ... Read More
This was the first cruise my husband and I have ever taken. The cruise was arranged through Country Family Reunion and Larry's Country Diner and therefore they chose the cruise line. I had read numerous reviews of the ship prior to leaving and was a little concerned because I had read some poor reviews about food. I did not feel that way at all. My only complaint was at breakfast every day in the Garden Café we would have a hard time finding a table. Even if we chose different times to eat we always had to search for a table and then one of us would have to stay and hold our place. I was very impressed with the cleanliness. I was concerned about that and there was always someone providing hand sanitizer. My only other complaint was on the last night of the cruise the staff seemed to be done with taking care of us and wanting to move on to the next group. service was slow that night. On departure morning we did have to ask that a table be cleaned to sit down. My suggestion to the cruise line is to train the staff that even though the cruise is coming to an end these customers are still expecting the same treatment We ate at all of the complimentary restaurants and also at Cagney's. All the food was good. Unfortunately at Cagney's we were next to the area where the waiters fill water etc. I would request to not sit at this area. We had a wonderful cruise and I would cruise Norwegian again. I loved the freestyle dining and the casual atmosphere. We did not go to many of the entertainment venues because our entertainment was part of the package that we had purchased. We did see some shows in the lounge and they were good, but of course when you have tickets to see your favorite country stars it is hard to top that. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2014
* The Jewel: Not that old of a ship, but seems a bit old/dated. Caribbean colors & theme throughout (sails there in winter) which didn't quite get us in the mindset for Alaska. One thing I really missed was a quiet, ... Read More
* The Jewel: Not that old of a ship, but seems a bit old/dated. Caribbean colors & theme throughout (sails there in winter) which didn't quite get us in the mindset for Alaska. One thing I really missed was a quiet, 'common' inside area with comfortable seating to enjoy the views. Restaurants have peripheral windows if you are lucky to score one when dining, the buffet has a wall of windows, as does the Irish Pub. Magnum's has windows, but for some reason, the decorator decided to make high backs on the (very uncomfortable) benches so if you are sitting in one of the chairs opposite the bench, all you see is sky. One quiet place with a view is the library, but sssshhhh, must be quiet so this isn’t the place to gather for a nice, relaxing conversation with a fellow traveler. And it was always full...wonder why? Guess others wanted a quiet space apart from the bars! So, if you aren't eating in a restaurant/buffet, go outside, but the chairs aren’t too comfy. I think the ship could benefit by having groupings of comfortable seating with a view where one could read, enjoy a coffee or drink, without having to go to a bar or restaurant. RCL had this & it was really nice. The mustering exercise was useless. RCL’s was top-notch. * Freestyle dining: NCL makes it sound so great, but everyone tends to want to eat at the same time so why not have assigned seating times to avoid rush times, relieve stress off the staff, etc.? Service staff friendly, but service is definitely slower during peak times. Plus, the atmosphere & ambience is so relaxed it seems to diminish the 'specialness' of cruising. Even though NCL pushes 'freestyle', & they have an 'optional' dress-up night, we saw a number of couples/families/individuals dressed up every evening. I think when people decide to go on a cruise, they want to dress up. We decided we weren't a fan of the freestyle dining. * Restaurants w/surcharges: If you prefer dining in a more refined & quiet atmosphere, without a bunch of little ones running around, this may be a great option. These 'upscale' restaurants have a suggested dress code, but we never witnessed it being enforced so why have it? Baseball caps & flip-flops kind of ruin the ambience. In the end, it still rankles me that these options have a cover charge on top of the cost of the cruise itself. Perhaps all cruise lines do this these days?? * Food: HUGE disappointment. Average & sub-average are the best descriptors. Very institutional. I did expect (hope?) that on an Alaskan cruise, they would offer indigenous seafood ie. Salmon, halibut, king crab (the salmon offered was Atlantic salmon) but to no avail. Buffet is great if you want lots of options; wonderful for kids, teens & people who just have to have piles of food. We only did lunch here; the soups were consistently awful. Salad bar was passable. B-fast in Tsar's was consistently good. Tried the Irish pub for b-fast one day & lunch the day we boarded - ick. Avoid this place. And no Irish beer in an Irish pub?? Open dining rooms had a few items that changed daily, majority of the menu remained the same. Ho hum. Beware of the descriptions: Cherries Jubilee is nothing but vanilla ice cream with canned cherries (pie filling?) on top. Option: hit the paid dining restaurants for dinner. Quite a clever plan on NCL's part. Based on previous cruise experience, we opted not to purchase the paid restaurant dining package because cruise ships are known for their awesome food. Mistake. We ate at the French, Brazilian, and Japanese restaurants, with the best of those being the French Le Bistro. Food beautifully presented and prepared. Japanese (Benihana-style) was least favorite. Miso soup horrible, main meats overcooked, green tea dessert was yucky. Brazilian food decent, many options. None of the paid restaurants we went to rose to the standards of fine dining or what you think of when thinking of dining on a cruise ship. Good, certainly better than the buffet, but wonderful and delicious? Nope. If I went to them in my hometown, I wouldn't return. On RCL, I remember having wonderful midnight food buffets with beautiful fruit displays and carvings - nothing like that here. Also, restaurants have limited hours. Judging from other online reviews, it seems NCL is gaining a reputation for sub-par food. * Staff & service: This is where the Jewel shines. Friendly, helpful, knowledgeable. Waitress in Le Bistro said she had been w/NCL 13 years; that says a lot about the organization. *Final thoughts: Alaska is beautiful, people we talked with in shops & tour guides/leaders were very friendly & welcoming. The Jewel was very disappointing, average. You can't put a price on memories, but our experience on board the Jewel did not provide a good return on investment. We will not sail NCL again. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2014
First the Ship. The Jewel is a nice ship with some recent additions including a Humidor room, Sheehan's Bar and Grill, Mojito bar and an improved Photo gallery. The common areas were in great shape and well maintained. We had a ... Read More
First the Ship. The Jewel is a nice ship with some recent additions including a Humidor room, Sheehan's Bar and Grill, Mojito bar and an improved Photo gallery. The common areas were in great shape and well maintained. We had a balcony room (which I highly recommend for the Alaska itinerary). It was nice but the room was showing its age. The ship was built in 2005 and will probably get a refurbishment soon. The food at the buffets are ok to good, the main restaurant's good to very good and the specialty restaurants very good to excellent. I recommend Cagney's Steak House! I traveled with my wife and 9 yr old son and loved the freestyle concept. Experienced cruisers had to get used to this but we preferred it. Now Alaska. It was amazing. The views from our balcony were unbelievable. We didn't see as much wildlife as we hoped but that was ok. The weather was cold (average high in the mid fifties) with sun, clouds and rain everyday. If you blinked the weather changed. Bring rain gear and a warm jacket for the days at sea; particularly if you go early or late into the season. We hope to cruise on Norwegian again but out of Boston (my location ) or New York to save on travel. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2014
Having cruised many times, this was our first cruise with Norwegian. And since it was our anniversary, we splurged a bit. We stayed in a mini suite, and got the ultimate dining package, along with having nice excursions in each port. ... Read More
Having cruised many times, this was our first cruise with Norwegian. And since it was our anniversary, we splurged a bit. We stayed in a mini suite, and got the ultimate dining package, along with having nice excursions in each port. ROOM The room was great. I'm pretty big, 6'3" 270lbs, and the bathrooms are always a bit tight, but that is the case on other cruise lines I've sailed as well. I do wish the room was a bit wider, I would have gladly sacrificed depth for an extra foot of width on the room, the space between the bed and the side wall was narrow. That being said, the balcony was spacious, the sitting area was big, and we had plenty of space to spread out. DINING We ate at all the specialty dining venues except La Cucina. The Teppanyaki restaurant was fun, and the food was great. All the chefs seemed to put on a nice show. Le Bistro was our favorite, everything we had was great, and you have to have the crème brule. Cagneys was good, but didn't measure up to high end steak houses I've been to on land, my steak came out a bit over done, I'm sure they would have cooked me a new one, but to save time, I didn't complain. Chin Chin seemed to be the least attended of the specialty dining venues, but we enjoyed it. Moderno is a fun choice, the salad bar had some great choices, and the selections of meat came out quickly. I think overall things were a bit under seasoned, but it's easy to add a bit of salt to taste. The hostess that sat us at our table at Moderno, even remembered us by name the next day when we went to O'Sheehans, but apologized that she didn't remember our room number. PORTS OF CALL Ketchikan was gorgeous. We did the Bering sea crab fishermans tour that was great, lots of great scenery and stories and information from the seasoned fishermen tour guides, then we went into town and rented a Harley for a few hours so we could head out to see the sights. I would highly recommend Panhandle Motorcycle adventures, a self guided tour took us off the beaten "touristy" path a bit, but was a great time. In Juneau, we did a float plane 5 glacier tour and Taku Lodge salmon feast. The scenery was breathtaking, and we even had a bear show up right as lunch was ending. This was the only place on our whole trip, however, where we had a bug problem, the woods around the lodge had some great short hikes, but the mosquitos were thick. We had bug spray with us, but the lodge also had it available. In Skagway we did the Adventure Park and Zip Line, and it was a lot of fun, even my wife who is afraid of heights loved it, then we went on the White Pass Railway and enjoyed the scenery. The train was a relaxing way to unwind after the zip line tour. ENTERTAINMENT The entertainment on the boat was good. The Cirque Bijoux show was pretty amazing, the other shows were OK, but nothing spectacular. I liked that the comedian was clean, and all of his shows were appropriate for all audiences. We also enjoyed hitting different trivia games throughout the week. There was always something to do. SHIP AND CREW Due to the layout of the boat, I never felt crowed. We did have an issue with our paperwork from our travel agent, some on board perks we were supposed to have didn't show up on Norwegians paperwork, but they honored the paperwork I brought with me till they could confirm with our agent that we were supposed to get those perks. Since our cruise left on a Saturday, they couldn't confirm till Tuesday, but it didn't hold us back from enjoying the perks in the mean time. The staff was very friendly, we met ships officers several times, and everyone was smiling and making sure we were happy. Twice, we had chocolate dipped strawberries sent to our room, once as an apology that our paperwork was wrong, and once as a thank you for chatting with one of the officers. Our room was always ready for us which is an compliment to our steward, who we never saw. Everyone takes the health of passengers very serious. If you don't know the washy washy song yet, you will by day 2 of your cruise. OVERALL No trip is perfect, but 90% of your enjoyment is going to be based on your own attitude. If you want to nit-pick something, you can always find flaws, and exaggerate them in your mind. Go to Alaska on the Jewel expecting the trip of a lifetime, and you won't be disappointed   Read Less
Sail Date: June 2014
We got back from NCL jewel 7 day cruise to Alaska. June 28 - July 5.  We had 2 rooms. 3 kids and MIL, DW and myself. Embarkation was simple. There is a mad rush at Pier 66 in Seattle. With 2000 people trying to board a ship, this is what ... Read More
We got back from NCL jewel 7 day cruise to Alaska. June 28 - July 5.  We had 2 rooms. 3 kids and MIL, DW and myself. Embarkation was simple. There is a mad rush at Pier 66 in Seattle. With 2000 people trying to board a ship, this is what I would expect. I was happy that NCL folks were available to help with luggage and trolleys. NCL personnel appeared to be generally happy to help. We tried to avoid the boarding picture - but a funny photographer was bent on doing her job and we complied. We did buy the picture at the end. We had obstructed oceanview cabins. These were unnecessary. Travelling with kids - in the small cabins - windows are useless. Next time - I will book Inside and save the $ Notes: - Good entertainment - no reason to get bored for parents as well as children - with kids - the buffet worked well. The variety was good. - We tried the restaurants Azure / Tzar. Both have the same menu. Its sit down and takes a long time. On one dinner night on of the kids fell asleep. Kids are yet to reach the age where they enjoy formal dining. - None of the specialty restaurants enticed me. I spent all the money on alcohol instead - Loved the fact that I can sit for a show - and then order scotch - Found that double shots are more expensive at shows then at the bar. - 8th floor was awesome. We were next to oShaheen's restaurant. Easy to fill up the water bottle or sneak in to watch the game (FIFA world cup was on). Also could order late night snack and get to the room. - On port days - the buffet is a madhouse - as everyone wants to grab breakfast and leave. I dont know what a good strategy is here. - Ports were ketchikan, Juneau and Skagway - Skagway: White pass railroad is overrated. Its a train ride and you are back in a couple of hours. Kids fell asleep on the train. The scenery is nice but you can see similar by bus or some other excursion. - Juneau Lot of bus services to go to the Mendenhall glacier. We did not book via NCL. - Ketchikan - Took a wildlife bus tour. Was ok. Then took the local bus to the Bigen Totem park. Nice. - Figured out that unless you are doing your dream excursion - its very easy to get off the boat and look for excursions. Also - you can bargain with the excursion sellers. We saved a few bucks by talking! Not much but maybe 10% - 20%. They need to fill their seats and you have a choice. - Missed 4th july fireworks - as we were in Victoria, BC - Cell phone service sucks at all ports. Not consistent. - We visited friends on arriving back in Seattle. We booked a shuttle after returning back to Seattle while having breakfast. - This is not a major glacier watching cruise. The sawyer glacier visited left me with unfinished business. The ship did not go near the glacier to enjoy it. If you want to do glacier watching - there will be better choices. The route to the glacier was mind-blowing beautiful. Blocks of ice all around - awesome. Just not close enough. The NCL Pearl visits glacier bay and is supposed to be better for glacier watching. - NCL jewel is a Nickelodeon cruise. There were a few Nick programs that we totally enjoyed. Recommended if you have kids who are not scared to go up on stage. Overall: loved it.   Read Less
Sail Date: June 2014
Just back from our cruise jun 27-jul 5 to Alaska from Seattle and the survey said "mixed results". The good; Our balcony cabin on the 8th deck was always well kept by staff. Staff I felt for the most part was very attentive. My ... Read More
Just back from our cruise jun 27-jul 5 to Alaska from Seattle and the survey said "mixed results". The good; Our balcony cabin on the 8th deck was always well kept by staff. Staff I felt for the most part was very attentive. My wife is a glutton free and corn intolerant (this really sucks btw). Had it not been for the chef who managed the O'Sheenans, my wife would have had been forced to eat the same thing over and over again. This chef after listening to my wife explain her frustration said to her "Madam, you come to my restaurant and I will take care of you". Indeed he did. As a matter of fact she ate far better than the rest of our entourage of eight people. He made her custom made meals thereafter and they were simply great. The float plane tour of the five glaciers was worth every cent of the $210.00 bucks. Alaska is stunning! Our ship Captain expertly maneuvered this massive vessel up the straight to see the glacier and got us as close as possible to the glacier, and then turned the ship 360 degrees in the channel and got us out. I thought that was pretty cool driving. The not so good; The shows were less than okay. One night they had this singing Russian guy come out in a tux and he belted out every ones favorite russian tune, only problem is we don't speak Russian. Worse, it was like watching your grandpas favorite re-run of "The Lawrence Welk Show". And then it got really bad. His pixy wife comes out and grabs a hold of these drape like ropes dropped from the stage ceiling. Up she goes spinning around like a little angel. Parents better cover juniors eyes cause he is going to get a healthy dose of crotch shots. I guess otherwise enjoy the view. Seriously it was comical watching. Had the dude pierced his nipples, put a chain in between and then spun his wife around the stage, then that would have been something to watch. The staff amateur show was just that amateur. But hey if you like Mrs. Guntskys 4th grade class pageant growing up, this show is for you! The really bad: Food sucked! Remember what I said about my wife. She told the ship months ago about her dietary restrictions. "No problem we got you covered" is what were told. The real gig is there is a set menu and if you want to deviate from the menu, say Iike how about grilling those veggies instead of steaming. Can you add curry to the rice. Blank stay like you get at the DMV office. Waiters honestly don't know what to do when you go outside the box. Thank fully we stumbled across the one chef who go outside the box. I can eat anything and the best description I can describe the food is high school cafeteria for breakfast. Lunch and dinner is a hybrid of Dennys. If you upgrade and pay for the food if was far better in the boutique restaurants. But it begs to ask NCL, why? My kid said the bacon was like cardboard cut-outs, spay painted and warmed up. Gotchas: Couple massage was great. Better read the fine print though. It read 149 bucks for a couple massage. Great deal told my wife let's go. This two girls had hands of magic. We missed the part it was 149 each plus 18% gratuity. I missed that and tipped both girls a 20 spot to boot. All port had the usual trinkets galore. Suggest renting a car and hightailing it our of town and see the really Alaska. Excursions were great so check those out. Oh-took my 13 year old zip lining. If your not a afraid of height or speed this tour is for you. Day two in open ocean was somewhat rough. I was fine, but 3 out of our 8 tossed their cookies. I called day 2 barf day. Great way to meet your shipmates at the stern barfing over the railing;-) Read Less
Sail Date: June 2014
I really enjoyed meeting several crew members of whom I left comment cards and specifically those Sales Associates in all gift shops with a special shout out to Natasha and Newton as well as my tour service person and Java Bar attendants ... Read More
I really enjoyed meeting several crew members of whom I left comment cards and specifically those Sales Associates in all gift shops with a special shout out to Natasha and Newton as well as my tour service person and Java Bar attendants from the Philippines and India. The hotel accommodations were excellent. After awhile I didn't enjoy the food as it all began to taste the same and it was the same meals over and over again. Asian food is okay but not every single day. The food selections except pasta and omelets were bland and all tasted the same. The prime rib on the second night was exceptional. It would be nice to have Mexican food asan addition to other meals. For me, it was the staff that made a difference in this cruise rather than entertainment or food. The comic was just okay. The circus was good. Overall, I would not go on this cruise ship again as again, for me, if not for those I left comment cards for, the cruise was a bust. Read Less
Norwegian Jewel Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 4.1
Dining 4.0 3.8
Entertainment 4.0 4.1
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family 4.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.8
Enrichment 1.0 3.4
Service 3.0 4.1
Value For Money 4.0 3.8
Rates 3.0 4.1

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