March 2014 - Norwegian Jewel to Caribbean - Western
This cruise was a good experience overall. We have travelled on Princess to Alaska and Carnival to the Western Caribbean in the past. Since this was a longer cruise and had more ports of call, we enjoyed the overall experience. We were not as pleased with NCL as with the other ships. NCL seems to "nickle and dime" us in every area. No longer does paying passage include everything (except alcohol) as prior experiences. Of course, since it has been 3 years since we cruised, the other lines may now do the same. I was disappointed in the overall dining experience. I ate only at the "included" venues, and while it was good, seemed to lack the variety of prior trips. To get the really good food, it cost more.
We booked our cruise and our excursions through an agent and felt that we did not get the same treatment as those who did their booking through the cruise line. In Belize City, we had to take the tender to the shore and had an early excursion, needing an early tender. We were not given any consideration to getting ashore. Those bookng with the cruise line were given priority and we were left to chance. Even though we were over a half hour late, fortunately, the excursion waited for us.
NCL rates at number 3 of 3 cruise experiences with us. The extra costs, the tender experience, the room size (we had a mini-suite with balcony, but it was really small compared to the mini-site we had on Princess), the dining experiences, while satisfactory, were not as good as that of Carnival and Princess.