Sail Date: August 01, 2010 Ship: Norwegian Jewel Cabin Type: Suite Traveled As: Couple Reviewed: 7 years ago
We sailed on the Norwegian Jewel to the Caribbean and the only truly positive thing we can remember was the excellent staff chosen for the cruise. Their was not a single staff member that was not polite and willing to go out of their way to make our cruise more enjoyable. The staff made sure the ship was impeccably clean and our glasses were always full.
The MAJOR NEGATIVE was definitely the over-priced drinks (mixed drinks for $9, beers for $7, sodas for $3 a can, and water for $5 a bottle) and the constant nagging to sign receipts for EVERY drink purchased. Then comes the "auto-gratuity" charge. The cruise line added 18% to every drink or food item you purchased...regardless of the level of service. I'm a HUGE tipper when I find a bartender I like or a casino dealer that is friendly or a waiter/waitress that is attentive and quick, but I want to make these determinations on my own (not the cruise line). The auto-gratuity actually ticked us off so badly that we started giving cash tips to the staff so the cruise line couldn't get a piece of the action for greater than 18% tips. What made it even more annoying was that the cruise line charged an extra surcharge of $12 per traveler per day on the last day of the cruise to cover the staff. So, they were double dipping (in fact soaking) their passengers' wallets. SUGGESTION TO NORWEGIAN: sell dining/drink/staff packages that are color coded by room key - less annoying to us with a SINGLE tip rate at the end of the cruise (not to mention the number of trees you'll save by lessening the amount of receipt paper). This was the single biggest reason why I will be checking out other cruise lines besides NCL for our Alaskan cruise.
Food and Dining
3 out of 5
FOOD QUALITY: Cagneys Steakhouse and Tsar's Palace were consistently fantastic, Tango's was on par with a Don Pablos or Chilis (good), Azura's and Chin Chin were fair, Teppanyaki hibachi grill we never got to eat in because of the consistent 3-4 hour wait times, and I wouldn't eat in Mama's Italian Kitchen again even if I was comped from the casino (horrible food with a capital H) - whoever heard of Italian food without garlic or zesty sauces and cheeses without pizzazz!?!?!
AMBIANCE: Cageny's and Mama's had the best ambiance.
DINING TIMES: Never a worry because of free style cruising (this was a cool idea).
3 out of 5
Good variety of activities, but the timing of excursions was extremely poor. The Bahamas parasailing, snorkeling, Segway tours, and jet ski tours were awesome...but we consistently felt rushed as the ship NEVER stayed in any location past 6pm. SUGGESTION TO NORWEGIAN: cut out the stop to Cape Canaveral, Florida and stay overnight in Nassau. We missed the overnight Junkanoo bonfire beach party at 8pm because we had to leave at 6pm! I talked with several Royal Carribean passengers who were staying until the next morning and had the option to attend the beach party with the local Bahamians! This would have been nice.
Service and Staff
5 out of 5
What can I say? AWESOME staff! From the laundry staff to the cooks to the bartenders to the excursion teams...awesome. Great job guys!
1 out of 5
Norwegian tried to cram 2800+ passengers and 1100+ crew onto a 936 foot long ship. The size of the ship was FAR too small for this many people and it would have been more enjoyable with about 750 less people onboard. The abundance of people made for long lines in on-ship restaurants (in some cases 2 hour waits), two severely over-crowded pools, and long lines at the only TWO casino tables open for Blackjack and only ONE table open for Craps. The overall ship layout was good with easily accessible facilities always within a 100 foot walk of your location, three sets of stairs/elevators, and large hallways for easy passage.
Cabin / Stateroom
5 out of 5
We stayed in an 11th floor mini suite. The room was more than adequate for a cruise with a queen bed, a pull-out sofa (if needed), a huge bathroom with private commode and shower/bathtub (the bathroom was best part of room because we were never fighting for space), work table, and private vanity (for the ladies). The only suggestion I have to Norwegian is to look into flat screen TVs!!!! For a ship only 5 years old you'd think they'd give you better than a 19" tube television. The satellite TV only numbered around 10 channels, but at least they had Fox News and didn't force me to slit my wrists watching Oberman and Maddow on MSNBC. NOTE: the 9th floor mini suites are 45 sq. ft. bigger and have larger balconies - try for them first!
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