June 2014 - Norwegian Jewel to Alaska - Inside Passage
Just got back from taking the Norwegian Jewel for a week in Alaska. While the trip was great, the room was small but nice, the staff was nice and everything was clean and well done, the food was horrible. We did a cruise on Royal Caribbean about 6 months ago on a 7 day for the exact same price and the food in the complimentary dining room was STUNNING. I mean absolutely delicious. The Norwegian cruise food was one step up from cafeteria food, and the dining room was the same food as the buffet where on Royal Caribbean the complimentary dining room menu was an entirely different menu, obviously made to order by well trained chefs. On the Norwegian, it seemed like they sent someone to the buffet to get your meal. It was horribly disappointing. I will never never go on a Norwegian Cruise again. The food was the equivalent to Denny's, while the food on Royal Caribbean was equal to Emeril's or Manning's. Don't cruise on Norwegian.
And if you have any food intolerance or special needs, forget about it. They are not going to accommodate you. We eat mostly gluten free, but not out of medical necessity. When we were on the Royal Caribbean, they were fastidious about making sure dietary needs were accommodated and provided fantastic and delicious alternatives. I doubt that anyone would have felt the slightest bit deprived being on a gluten free diet on the Royal Caribbean. If we had truly had a medical need to eat gluten free on the Norwegian Jewel, we would have probably been relegated to eating white rice, or ended up in the hospital. I don't think that you could possibly have figured out what was safe to eat and what was not.
Also, several other points. They have a staff member standing in the buffet entrance to make sure that you disinfect your hands. He sings a little 'washy washy' song to the tune of a children's song... over and over and over and over and over again. I wanted to punch him every time I walked by. Horribly annoying.
Also, they keep the hot tubs at 95 degrees F. This is fine in the Caribbean, but too cold when it's 50 degrees with 20 mile an hour winds. The hot tubs would have been a perfect place to be in foul weather, but not on this ship.
Last but not least, my honey got vomiting and diarrhea. While I'm not blaming the ship since we both ate all the same things and I did not get sick, what I am complaining about was the way it was handled. I'm an ER and ICU nurse, so I know what I'm talking about, and cruise ships are NOTORIOUS for outbreaks of infectious diarrhea. So, I go to medical just to let them know and see if they wanted to test him for infectious diarrhea or quiz him about what food he ate, etc. in order to contain what could have been a budding outbreak. They could have not been less interested. The ONLY way they wanted to know about his illness is if he were to pay $150 to be treated. Well, he didn't need treatment, so they didn't have any interest in him. This was extremely concerning to me and, by itself was reason not to go back.
Their lack of interest in preventing an outbreak was equivalent to their lack of care with the food. Don't EVER cruise Norwegian.