Norwegian Jewel Cruise Review by lee8553
- Sail Date: July 2019
- Destination: Alaska
- Cabin Type: Inside
We arrived in Vancouver the evening before embarkation & overnighted in an airport hotel, as it was Canada Day we started off for the port quite early, utilising the train service to get there. The streets around the port were crowded, but there were lots of people giving directions & we quickly found where to drop off our luggage. We were pretty early for our check in slot, so we made the most of the carnival atmosphere, sporting flags & temporary (we hoped) maple leaf tattoos.
Once it was time to check in we proceeded to the hall, which is where it all went a little awry. As UK passport holders we were directed to a separate queue, this was smaller than the main queue, but it appeared there was only 1 (or possible 2) counters serving us compared to a dozen or so for the main, it moved incredible slowly. Then suddenly they started sending people to all different desks & things sped up, when we got to a desk the woman asked us how long we'd been there & seemed shocked at our response, considering we were processed in less than 5 minutes, I really don't know why it all took so long & can't really understand the logic in the separation to begin with. Anyway, after that we were quite soon aboard. We decided to check if the luggage had been delivered, it had, put in the cabin, take a quick look around, then go for our 1st cocktail of the cruise & a bite to eat.
Our steward was often about when we were in the corridor & was always polite & friendly, tho I'm not sure he always understood what my friend was going on about, the room was always tidy & supplies stocked up. I found nearly all the officers & crew very polite & friendly, (there was 1 guy in one of the bars who always looked a bit fed up, but maybe that was just his face), the staff in the MDRs often had a quick chat, as Europeans I think we tended to eat later than a lot of the Americans, so it wasn't as busy as earlier in the evening, & the staff in the bar we mostly frequented realised quite quickly we didn't want 1/2 an iceberg in our drinks.
We only used the included restaurants, mostly Azura & Tsar, we tried O'Sheenehan for lunch one day & one evening Chin Chin, the only one to disappoint. We didn't feel the need to go to the specialist places, also my friend is a mostly vegetarian (adding fish for this holiday).
We did 2 excursions via NCL & 2 with another company, plus some independently. The NCL were in Ketchican, we went to the Rainforest Sanctuary & Alaska Raptor centre, we didn't see any wildlife, a matter of luck as the group 5-10 mins behind us saw 3 bears, but it was a very informative walk thro the Tongass forest with a naturalist & at the Raptor centre we had a flight demonstration and got pretty close to a large female bald eagle, the centre cares for & rehabilitates injured, but keep some which would be unable to survive in the wild. We also did a duck tour, something I've always planned to do on the Thames, which was fun. In Juneau we did a whale watching tour on a small boat with marine biologist & another naturalist, we saw several whales including a mother & calf, plus a sealion fighting off several gulls who were trying to steal it's salmon. We also went out to Mendenhall glacier & walked the path to Nugget Falls. Our last excursion was in Skagway where we did a coach trip up thro the Canadian border to Yukon, stopping at various interesting spots, a quite relaxing trip.
The only shows we didn't attend were the comedian, I find them in general very polarising, but thought all the others very good. The best was undoubtedly Le Circe Bijou, although I also really enjoyed the couple who did the dancing/acrobatic show, but I overheard a woman who thought it was rubbish, horses for courses I suppose.
All in all we had a very enjoyable week on board NCL Jewel, I hadn't known what to expect, all my previous cruises having been on European lines, but I would certainly travel with them again.
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