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Pre-cruise and boarding - The NCL website is pretty good for pre-checkin and helping you make choices about beverage packages and shore excursions. Here are a couple of missing details that we found though... - We read that the corkage fee for bringing a bottle of wine aboard is $15. What we found out when we checked in was, that's $15 for a 0.75 liter bottle. One of the bottles we brought was a 1.5 liter bottle, and they said the corkage fee for that one was $30. We paid it, never opened the bottle, and got our $30 refunded at the end of the cruise. - the bookings we made for the cruise included cover charges for 3 of their specialty restaurants. We couldn't figure out before the cruise how to use their web site to make reservations for these restaurants. We found out by calling NCL that they don't let you do that with the specialty restaurant package. The earliest we could make reservations was at the cruise terminal during the checkin process. It turns out, that was not a problem. And it also turns out, the credit for the cover charges actually is a general-purpose onboard credit. You don't have to use it for a specialty restaurant cover charge. You can use it as credit towards a shore excursion instead, for example. We found this out about the 4th day of the cruise. Overall cruise experience - Really good. NCL does a nice job at having the ship's crew establish a happy ambience. The Jewel is well maintained inside and out. No worn out carpet or furniture, everything nice and shiny, etc. Itinerary - Cozumel, Belize City, Banana Coast Honduras. Cozumel and Belize City are fine. See my port review about Banana Coast. Restaurants and dining - Service throughout was very good. The main restaurants - Tsar's Palace, Azura, and O'Sheehan's - are good. The food was good and well presented, although sometimes the mass production of it was apparent. The specialty restaurants that we tried - Cagney's - good food, not great. I say this because the steak I had just lacked the smokey grilled flavor that I like. Le Bistro - good, definitely French so do it if you like French food. La Cucina - I have to say, this one is not worth the cover charge. I had pork medallions and they were dry and obviously mass produced. Onboard Entertainment - The nighttime shows in the Stardust Theater were the best I've seen on a cruise ship. Good variety of shows - music, magician, acrobats - very talented people, well produced, very entertaining. The not-so-good - - Our cabin steward, while overall good, missed a few beats. We had used glasses in the room that never got replaced with clean ones. The sofa bed was left about six inches away from the wall, which makes a huge difference in a cabin that's not very big to start with. - See my review in the Deck Plans for other comments. Lesson - We booked a "mini-suite" on Deck 8 about two months prior to departure date, through a travel agent. Full payment was due one month prior to departure date. About three weeks prior to departure date, NCL reduced the price of Mini-suites on this cruise by $300 per person. When I called our travel agent about this, she said we were past the payment due date and she could not do anything about it, but she would call NCL and see if they would offer anything. NCL didn't do anything about our price. (They did "upgrade" us to an aft facing mini-suite on Deck 11, for what it's worth.) I'm retired now and we are pretty flexible with travel. Next time we book a cruise, I'll book one close to the departure date, after the price drops.

Mostly Good

Norwegian Jewel Cruise Review by joelkmcw

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: January 2015
  • Destination: Western Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Aft-Facing Balcony
Pre-cruise and boarding -
The NCL website is pretty good for pre-checkin and helping you make choices about beverage packages and shore excursions. Here are a couple of missing details that we found though...
- We read that the corkage fee for bringing a bottle of wine aboard is $15. What we found out when we checked in was, that's $15 for a 0.75 liter bottle. One of the bottles we brought was a 1.5 liter bottle, and they said the corkage fee for that one was $30. We paid it, never opened the bottle, and got our $30 refunded at the end of the cruise.
- the bookings we made for the cruise included cover charges for 3 of their specialty restaurants. We couldn't figure out before the cruise how to use their web site to make reservations for these restaurants. We found out by calling NCL that they don't let you do that with the specialty restaurant package. The earliest we could make reservations was at the cruise terminal during the checkin process. It turns out, that was not a problem. And it also turns out, the credit for the cover charges actually is a general-purpose onboard credit. You don't have to use it for a specialty restaurant cover charge. You can use it as credit towards a shore excursion instead, for example. We found this out about the 4th day of the cruise.
Overall cruise experience -
Really good. NCL does a nice job at having the ship's crew establish a happy ambience. The Jewel is well maintained inside and out. No worn out carpet or furniture, everything nice and shiny, etc.
Itinerary -
Cozumel, Belize City, Banana Coast Honduras. Cozumel and Belize City are fine. See my port review about Banana Coast.
Restaurants and dining -
Service throughout was very good.
The main restaurants - Tsar's Palace, Azura, and O'Sheehan's - are good. The food was good and well presented, although sometimes the mass production of it was apparent.
The specialty restaurants that we tried -
Cagney's - good food, not great. I say this because the steak I had just lacked the smokey grilled flavor that I like.
Le Bistro - good, definitely French so do it if you like French food.
La Cucina - I have to say, this one is not worth the cover charge. I had pork medallions and they were dry and obviously mass produced.
Onboard Entertainment -
The nighttime shows in the Stardust Theater were the best I've seen on a cruise ship. Good variety of shows - music, magician, acrobats - very talented people, well produced, very entertaining.
The not-so-good -
- Our cabin steward, while overall good, missed a few beats. We had used glasses in the room that never got replaced with clean ones. The sofa bed was left about six inches away from the wall, which makes a huge difference in a cabin that's not very big to start with.
- See my review in the Deck Plans for other comments.
Lesson -
We booked a "mini-suite" on Deck 8 about two months prior to departure date, through a travel agent. Full payment was due one month prior to departure date. About three weeks prior to departure date, NCL reduced the price of Mini-suites on this cruise by $300 per person. When I called our travel agent about this, she said we were past the payment due date and she could not do anything about it, but she would call NCL and see if they would offer anything. NCL didn't do anything about our price. (They did "upgrade" us to an aft facing mini-suite on Deck 11, for what it's worth.) I'm retired now and we are pretty flexible with travel. Next time we book a cruise, I'll book one close to the departure date, after the price drops.
joelkmcw’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Aft-Facing Balcony
Cabin B1 11150
Our cabin location was Deck 11 aft-facing. Deck 12 aft is the Great Outdoors cafe and patio. Apparently, about 7 AM each day the crew cleans the Great Outdoors patio, moves the deck chairs and tables back to starting positions, etc. We could hear the thumping and scraping very well in our cabin. And, I didn't see any benefit to the aft-facing cabin versus one in midship, even though the aft-facing has a higher price.
Deck 10 Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Banana Coast (Trujillo)
    I have to say, I don't know why NCL made a cruise port out of Trujillo, Honduras ("Banana Coast"). It's still very third world. We took a taxi from town to a beach about 20 minutes out of town. Immediately when you leave town the roads are dirt and mud and the cab had to go slow to avoid ruts and drive around goats on the road. They had rain the day before we were there, so that made it worse. Fortunately, when we got to the beach Campamento it was nice, manicured, nice bar, nice beach chairs, etc. But Trujillo is definitely not where you would go and call it a vacation. Don't go on a cruise that stops at Banana Coast.
    View All 43 Banana Coast (Trujillo) Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Banana Coast (Trujillo) Cruise Port Review