April 2014 - Norwegian Jewel to Panama Canal, Central America
My wife and I have cruised on Carnival and Princess. She has also cruised on Royal Carribean. Never again on Norwegian. The ship departed about three hours behind schedule. The check-in process was quite good; but once on board, there was no one to give you directions. They provided a sketch of the ship which looked like it was made on a home-quality printer. The printing was so bad that it was almost illegible. Got other copies, but they were also very poor quality. We finally found our cabin on Deck 4. The room was quite small; but in acceptable condition. The cabin stewards were great. We're old, so we like to take late afternoon naps; however, there was some kind of daily grinding process going on somewhere below us and the noise made napping difficult. The food in the main dining rooms was no better than one would get at a Denny's. The buffet wasn't any better. The company lauds its "freestyle" dinning; however, unless you went to the 5:30 sitting, you ended up waiting 30 minutes to get a table, so I made a standing reservation for a specific time. May as well have the assigned seating of the other lines. About ten days into the cruise, we got sick. Apparently half the ship had come down with the flu. Thus, we spent about four days in our cabin living off the fast food-quality meals provided through room service. They were largely sandwiches. Paid $5 for a 16" pizza. It was so bad that after one piece each, we through it away. Ordering orange juice for any meal other than breakfast cost over $2 per glass. Not great when one's trying to beat a cold. After the ship left San Diego, there was a clanging noise that occurred about every 4-5 minutes day and night. We reported it several times to several crew members; but nothing was done about it because the noise continued all the way to San Francisco. Passengers in adjoining cabins had also reported the noise. Generally the crew members were polite and respectful. The staff at bingo were terrific; but the bingo was overly expensive. We attended several art auctions by Park West Gallery. Their staff was terrific. We only went on two shore excursions. Getting off the ship at the first port-of-call, Cartegna, was a mess. They had us all meet in one of the large show rooms on deck 7 and then go down to deck 4 to exit the ship. Due to the crowds in the stair well and hall, it took almost 20 minutes. We were the last to reach our bus. For the second port-of-call, Huatulco, we just skipped the meeting and went directly off the ship from our cabin. That turned out quite well. At the other ports-of-call, we were sick in our cabin. Granted, getting sick may not be Norwegian's fault; however, absent that, we still found them to be lacking when compared to the other cruise lines we've used.