April 2014 - Norwegian Jewel to Caribbean - Western
My wife and I have been on several cruises, two with Carnival and one with Princess. Definitely our experience with NCL is tops compared to the others. Why? Well for one we liked the "Freestyle" dining where we could choose whenever time we wanted to have dinner. It made for a much more pleasant and relaxed experience, and most importantly we weren't seated to other passengers and be forced to engage in small talk. The other is the decor and styling of the staterooms. It was our first time cruising inside without a balcony or window, but our experience on NCL made it all worth it. What can I say about the crew of the Jewel? They were exceptional, they worked their butts off, catering to us fat Americans, and with a greeting and a smile! You can truly tell they liked their jobs.
Port of calls: Well we didn't purchase onship excursions, saving us hundreds. First stop, Cozumel, loved the touristy town. We even swam with the dolphins. Next Belize, we did the cavetubing thingy, beware because this is a long excursion. It took 1.5hours by van to the caves, and another hour walking and tubing down into the caves, then another 1.5 hours back to port. We skipped Routan because one of the sister ships ported their the day before, one of the crew members was robbed and killed. Because of precaution our captain skipped the port (we found out they have since resumed the port of call). So we had another day at sea. Last port was Costa Maya. This port is pretty dead. Unless there is a cruise ship in port, there's no life (population about 1000). We visited the ruins, again it took about 2 hour drive to the Mayan ruins. So be prepared.
Overall a great experience with Norwegian Jewel. Loved it, and would definitely do it again!