Norwegian Jewel Cruise Review to Canada, New England, New York

Contributor Level: Deck Hand

Experience
7+ cruises

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3 out of 5

The cruise was just OK

Sail Date: May 15, 2012

Reviewed: 4 years ago

Traveled As: Family (older children)

Room Type: Suite

This was our seventh cruise and ranks at the bottom in most categories (service, food quality, activities). It definitely is not on the same level as cruise lines like Celebrity and Holland America, except for stateroom quality. If it wasn't for the fact that we were able to book it at a deep discount last minute, the cruise would not have been worth it.

Pros: cabin steward; cabin; great price

Cons: restaurant service and food quality; boring activities

Recommends Norwegian Jewel? No.

Cabin / Stateroom
We had a small suite that we were able to book very cheaply at the 11th hour. The stateroom was probably the best part of the cruise. It was spacious, clean, and had a nice layout. A curtain separated the sofa bed from the main bedroom, allowing privacy for a third person. Beds were very comfortable, even the sofa bed. The stateroom attendant was excellent and always very friendly, even greeting us by name in the hallways. Our suite had a combination bathtub-shower, with the toilet compartment separated by a small sliding door. TV quality was poor. The balcony was a nice size. Closet/storage space was very adequate.
Ship Quality
Ship size and layout were easy to navigate. The ship was clean and had nice decor.
Entertainment
Daytime activities were very limited, uncreative, and most ended up in sales pitches. Movies were not shown during our short four-day cruise. Most of the musicians were pretty good. We enjoyed using the pingpong tables on one of the decks. The shows were hit-or-miss, but many of them were not really family-appropriate (the comedian made some racially-insensitive jokes; the dancers were scantily-clad). There was an alarming lack of information provided by the cruise director, for example information on going into port and getting back onboard.
Service and Staff
Did not meet expectations, other than the cabin steward, who was outstanding. In the dining room, however, restaurant waiters were generally inattentive and did not prioritize giving quality service to customers. For instance, in cruises with other lines with traditional dining, the waiters always knew our food and drink preferences and went out of their ways to make sure we were happy. On this ship, it seemed like the waiters just didn't care. Many of the buffet workers were pretty grumpy. We dealt with an excellent watch salesman, but generally the gift store staff was not very friendly or helpful.
Food and Dining
NCL's freestyle-dining feature made for a worse experience compared to traditional dining that other cruise lines offer. First off, the service staff was mediocre and often downright rude, even at the French specialty restaurant. Often, they would mix up orders or fail to bring orders at all. I often had to wait very long in between courses, and my beverage glass was never refilled. Attention by the waitstaff was minimal. The food was poorly prepared. Meat was overcooked and fish was flavorless. Dessert was nothing special, either. In addition, the freestyle dining option means you often have to wait for a table. Room service came at an additional price after midnight (pizza for $5). The quality was just as poor as the buffet/restaurant.


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