March 2016 - Norwegian Jewel to Mexico
The Jewel is an older, smaller ship than what we are used to. Combine that with Spring Break season, and you have a crowded vessel, with lots of families, which is perfectly fine if that is what you want. But our family is made up of all adult children. The Crowdedness was most apparent on deck by the pool. And while there are adults-only areas, they are right next to the kids' pools, so not really a separate environment. Cabins are are a bit smaller than our past experiences, too.
Restaurants-we ate in the "included" restaurants mainly. Food and service quality were mixed-some dishes very good, others were "eh"; service some nights was good, others were quite slow, and in some cases meals were not all delivered at the same time (we're talking tables of 6, so this should not be a problem). The Chin Chin restaurant had the worst service, with huge gaps between being seated, taking drink orders, taking meal orders, delivering appetizers, delivering main courses, refilling water glasses or checking in on us. We did not go back, despite the food being good. The buffet was good, with large varied selections.
We went to Le Bistro French Restaurant one night. The food was very good, as was service (it was not crowded). About $220 for 6 of us (everything is a la cart)--excluding alcohol (we had the ultimate beverage package, and stuck to included wines and beer by the glass). I'd compare the food to what you would expect from an upscale restaurant, and it is cheaper than going to one on shore. But you will have to decide if it is worth it to you to pay additional for food on a cruise ship. Where we live we have plenty of good Italian, steak, and sushi restaurants.
Excursions-we did not do any-some of us had booked excursions in Cabo, but the weather forced their cancellation.
Overall, the ship was 3-3.5 stars.
Our biggest disappointment was with Cruises, which booked the cruise for us. I called in to reserve because booking 3 cabins near each other is difficult to do on-line. The representative offered us cabin credits-$100 for our outside cabin, $50 each for the other two cabins. But there was nothing in any of the confirmation paperwork showing this. I did not ask for this or see a promotion for it, so it would not have changed our plans at all. But it was offered by the rep. When I checked 3 weeks before the cruise the rep I talked with then also confirmed the credits (although a separate call to NCL had no record of this). But we never received them. NCL front desk called , and they said we would get the credits on my credit card. I'm still waiting.