The Nickel and Dime Cruise Ship
Norwegian Jewel Cruise Review to Caribbean - Bahamas
Review SummaryWe 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
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).
Service and Staff
Cabin / Stateroom
Pros: Staff (excellent and friendly staff)
Cons: Everything else besides the staff