November 2013 - Norwegian Jewel to Caribbean - Western
There are so many cruise options today. You would think all the lines would know this a really work at trying to bring you back. Instead, NCL makes it its mission to just get all the money that they can from you so they don't have to worry about the repeat :)
This was my second NCL cruise. The first one was on the EPIC and it was miserable. That ship was way too big with common areas that were too small to accomodate the large number of passengers. Pools small with again, way too many passengers trying to use them. Everything was extra.
My husband and I went on the JEWEL because a friend and her husband invited us to go with them. I told my friend in the beginning that the one experience with NCL was on a brand new ship and we were miserable. They had a good experience on another NCL ship and so I decided our bad experience might just have been that the EPIC was brand new at the time.
Should have gone with my gut feeling. The JEWEL is in need of repair. After boarding, we went to our 9th floor cabin. I should have gotten off then. The room looks OK, even though it does seem smaller than most. However, the bedls had valleys as deep as the Grand Canyon! Really! I am not that picky and can learn to make the best of anything but the mattresses are just plain worn out!
We went up to the buffet while we waited for our luggage to arrive. That is the next area that the ship that NCL NEEDS to update in the worst way. Talk about a terrible first impression. Everything is painted, chipped and sadly outdated. The floor was a mish-mash of dingy vinyl! Yes, vinyl on a cruise ship! When's the last time you saw that? The metal outdoor chairs are painted a sad hunter green with electric blue vinyl cusions. There is silk (faux) flowering vines, hanging over your heads that look like they have been there since the ship set sail on her first voyage.
Can't say the food was bad but it was the SAME every day! Main dining rooms were the same. Same food. The right side of the menu never changes. The left doesn't change much either. They just call it something different every day :) Cuts of beef were very thin, no more than 1/2."
All this is done so you will just pay the money to go to the specialty restaurants that cost extra and then you are expected to tip everyone, including the chef while you are there!
The staff are really nice although there are noticebly less of them then on other cruises we have been on. That would be with the exception of bar staff that seeem to swirl everywehre trying to sell alcohol. However, there were hardly any people that you saw picking things up or cleaning anything off. Things were left lying around too long.
To date we have been on approximately 15 other cruises on Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Princess and Holland America. This was our second NCL and the last.
By the way . . . second time to Jamaica and the last. The place is just scary and unsafe. Don't do any of the shopping tours. The beaches are a little safer because they are behind barb-wired fences with a guard. That place just needs to come off the itinerary.