NCL Jewel Nov 1, 2014 out of Houston
Norwegian Jewel Cruise Review to Caribbean - Western
Sail Date: November 01, 2014
Cabin Type: Inside
Traveled As: Couple
Reviewed: 2 years ago
The check in procedure was very smooth. From walking in the port door to getting on the ship took about 25 minutes. The lines constantly moved and the employees all seemed to know there jobs.
Soon after boarding we went to the Tzar's Palace for lunch. Unlike the Lido deck buffet the main dining room was almost empty and we had a great window table view of the port maritime activities. This was our 7th cruise but our first on NCL. We found the food to be slightly better than what we have experienced the last several cruises on Carnival. Specifically the desserts were better & the buffet items fresher or less dried out. On the down, side many of the main dining room selections were meat items like prime rib that are served under cooked. I know many people prefer this but I like meat items fully cooked. There were, of course, plenty of other choices.
We had booked an inexpensive inside cabin and found the room small but adequate. The bed was a little too soft but others may like that. My spouse did not complain. Everything in the cabin (deck 4) worked well. Lots of closet space and hangers, mini fridge, ample shower size and cabin safe were all nice features.
The crew were the best we have encountered on our cruises. Without exception they were friendly and accommodating. The shows were all entertaining and can be called good but not great. Comedian David Naster was very funny but for me the highlight of the entertainment was the band Next Stage. They were fantastic! Excellent musicians, superior harmony and a dynamite lead singer. I wish I had seen more of them. The acrobats and magician were also very good.
The ports of call were Cozumel, Belize and Trujillo, Honduras. Cozumel has the best water and any water sports there are world class. Although it seemed that the store people were a little more aggressive than the last time we were there (not near as bad as Jamaica). We walked all over the island and have always felt safe there and found the people to be friendly.
Belize was a bit of a disappointment. We did not book an excursion as this was our first trip to Belize. We went out into the city and explored on foot. We began to feel a little uncomfortable in town and after an excellent stop in the Belize Museum, housed in a converted colonial jail, we went back to the gated cruise port shopping area. The city was exactly what I had read about in guide books and other reviews, but I had hoped for more. Next time we will book a beach excursion.
Trujillo was great fun. We were only the 4th cruise ship to ever stop there and the people were very friendly although there were not that many English speakers compared to the usual tourist ports. We walked around town and enjoyed touring the old fort. School must have been out again for the ships visit because the children were all in the main square doing a dancing demonstration. Later the school marching band performed. We spent the afternoon down on the beach. The water is a bay and not clear like Cozumel but still better than Texas beaches (which I am used to). The sand was about the same as the Texas coast although badly in need of cleaning up the debris that has washed up.
At Cozumel the ship tied up at the pier and we just walked ashore. At both Belize and Trujillo tenders were used to ferry people to shore. In both cases the departure was very organized. You got a boarding group number and once your number was called out the wait to board the tender was a short one.
We like the freestyle cruising concept. I thought with a more relaxed dress code that people would be dressed like bums. Not so. Even in the dining rooms people dressed modestly and tastefully. In fact the people on the ship were the greatest difference between this NCL cruise and our previous Carnival cruises. I won't pretend to know the why of it but I found this group of passengers to be more polite, more subdued and more considerate than I had experienced before. Especially fewer obnoxious drunks which I have seen plenty of on Carnival. And no I am not opposed to drinking.
We had a great time on the Jewel and would not hesitate to recommend it you. In order to calibrate my review I am a 63 year old male who still thinks he is 18. (What happened to the years?) My wife and I are still very active and we are not what anyone would call foodies. If you sail on the Jewel I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.
Food and Dining
Service and Staff
Cabin / Stateroom
The Garden Room buffet on the lido deck is often crowded at breakfast and lunch with seats hard to come by. However, a fewer more steps aft is the Great Outdoors seating area on the rear of the ship. Great views and we always found a table.