Lovely cruise aboard NCL Jewel
Norwegian Jewel Cruise Review to Caribbean - Western
Sail Date: December 01, 2013
Ship: Norwegian Jewel
Cabin Type: Oceanview
Cabin Number: 5526
Traveled As: Couple
Reviewed: 3 years ago
The cruise left New Orleans on Dec. 1 and returned Dec. 8, 2013. The NCL Jewel is a relatively new ship, beautifully appointed, with lively decor. Our cabin (5526) was perfect--the shower worked, there was enough hot water, the AC worked, and it was soundproofed so thoroughly that we could not hear the engines. There was a large window, and an unobstructed view.
The food aboard the Jewel was very good. The standard menu (right side of menu) was excellent, and the varied menu (left side) was interesting. We missed the Beef Wellington that we have had on other NCL cruises (10, total), but there was a wonderful prime rib in its place. The cream of broccoli soup is to die for, and NCL gave me the recipe on a prior cruise. The service in the dining rooms was perfect, very attentive. We did not eat in the specialty restaurants because we were so happy with the dining venues. We ate lunch a couple of times in the Garden Cafe on deck 12. There was a good variety of food at the cafe, and some wonderful desserts. Try the chef's special cakes (a different one daily)--they are light, fluffy, not too sweet, and simply divine. The chocolate raspberry torte that's part of the standard menu is terrific--my husband and brother ate it almost every day. We also really enjoyed the fried calamari on the lunch menu. The only disappointment was the cheeseburger on the lunch menu. We all agreed it was merely average, and we had had better cheeseburgers at local restaurants in Ocean Springs, MS, where we live.
The onshore excursions were well organized and on time. There are many options to choose from. A word to the wise: if you want the submersible excursion (observatory) in Georgetown,sign up early, online, before you go on the cruise. This tour fills up quickly. Most of the people on this cruise were middle-aged to elderly, and they want the excursions which are not physically demanding.
The art auctions are my favorite part of the cruise. I didn't buy anything, but I enjoyed them. The art crew could have done a better job with the art lecture that preceeded the auctions; we have heard better lectures on other cruises, especially the NCL Spirit, which used to leave from New Orleans, but now cruises betweeen Italy and Spain and around the Canary Islands. I miss the Spirit--it's my favorite ship.
The cruise was very relaxing for us, and the weather was very agreeable--temps in the 80's, breezy, not too humid. This is a nice time of year for this part of the world: Jamaica, Cayman Islands, Cozumel.
I would highly recommend this ship and this cruise to anyone who is looking for a relaxing, upscale experience. So long as you avoid the cruise dates which will fill up with young families or teens/young adults on Spring Break, you should have an experience similar to ours. If you cruise during school vacations, you will, of course, have a very different environment, full of noisy children and perhaps a lot of drunk older kids. We made the mistake of cruising during Spring Break in 2008 on the Majesty (no longer a part of NCL), and we will never again book a cruise during this time of year. We are in our sixties, and we want to see the ship full of people like ourselves, quiet, well-behaved, friendly, appreciative of the luxury of the cruise.
Food and Dining
Service and Staff
Cabin / Stateroom
Try the Blue Lagoon for snacks. Nice menu, good service, beautiful views, often with music playing while you eat.