January 2015 - Norwegian Jewel to Caribbean - Western
What we liked? Generally the service was good. The steward for our cabin was actually one of two or three high points. Food in the Italian specialty restaurant was excellent. We paid $150 each (approximately) for the thermal pass, that give us access to the sauna, hot tubs, and a nice view from the front of the ship. The excursions were good. We especially liked visiting the Mayan ruins about an hour and a half from Belize City. We're not much of party people, usually retiring by 10pm. (We were really trying to recover from a very trying year.) As a result, I can't speak much for a lot of the activities and parties on board. The big shows were pretty good, but I actually fell asleep in a 90 minute rock and roll concert (that was pretty good).
What we didn't like? This was our first cruise so we fell victim to a few things that we wouldn't get caught on again. The first day was really like a very long time share hard sell experience with lots of add ons being pushed. We had planned on spending the money for my wife to do a couple of massages knowing they would be pricey. But, sell, sell, sell got old. They also conned my wife into saying yes to things she thought were included, then wound up with an extra $300 bill on one service above and beyond the $180 massage. Cagneys was disappointing for a steakhouse on board. The service was poor, the food..... good and bad. The pools? My wife's comment was one that might be unavoidable on a cruise..... "they sit in the pool and hot tub for hours drinking non-stop. Where do they go to the bathroom? I'm not getting in that pool." We did all of our lying out and hot tubing in the thermal package. One of the biggest disappointments was on the shore excursions. We had been advised to use a third party service for excursions. We did so for our Belize excursion, but actually bought our excursions for the other two ports from the onboard Shore Excursions team. We might as well have been lepers with AIDs when we asked about getting ashore for our excursion we purchased from a third party. Beyond non-helpful, the one attendant was quite rude. We found the same true on reserving dining from the staff. If we walked up and made an immediate decision all was well. But we were debating on one night and the staff person grew very irate.
We went on the cruise with one of our objectives being to decide if we liked cruising. I'm still undecided. We 'might' do another cruise if the destinations are of interest. It will be determined by price, destinations, and a wiser approach to hard sell efforts by onboard staff.