Fun ports, ship experience was boring

Norwegian Jewel Cruise Review to Caribbean - Western


Contributor Level: Purser
Experience: 1 cruise (first)
Review: 1
Helpful Votes: 4

Overall Rating:

3.0 out of 5
Verified Review
7 Night Western Caribbean (Houston Roundtrip)
Sail Date: February 28, 2015
Ship: Norwegian Jewel
Cabin Type: Inside
Cabin Number: 8553
Traveled As: Family (older children)
Reviewed: 2 years ago

My family of 5, including teenagers, had a great time at Cozumel, Belize, and Honduras.  However, in all 3 locations we arranged our own excursions and avoided the tourism as much as possible.  We went to a private beech on Cozumel, found a guy with a boat to take us snorkeling with sharks & stingrays in Belize, and rented a car to drive across the island in Honduras.  Had we stayed with the heard of people disembarking the ship, I doubt our experience would have been as good.  Full disclosure: we're not the tourist type and usually try to take the path less traveled; this was also our first cruise experience.

This luded 3 whole days at sea.  For our family, this was WAY too much.  Also, the food in the main dining rooms was just mediocre.  The concepts we're good - duck confit, chateaubriand, beef tartare, cherries jubilee, etc.  However, the execution was below par and obviously prepared in large quantities for a lot of people.  Somewhat understandable, but disappointing.  The one upscale restaurant we tried was noticeably higher in quality.  Although, depending on what you ordered, it was a second up-sell.

I very much disliked the constant "selling" on board.  Everything is way overpriced.  I'm accustomed to paying double store price for wine in a restaurant, but here it was triple.  Mixed drinks were $10-12, and weren't made well.  We did enjoy the mojito flight at one of the bars, and thought the price of $15 was fair.

Staff was very friendly and professional.  No complaints in that department.

Overall, there is no other way to take a family of 5 on a 7 night vacation out of the country for this price.  It was far from ideal, but we enjoyed relaxing, spending time together, and exploring the port locations.  We probably won't cruise again.  But we are definitely going back to Belize!!

 

Food and Dining

3 out of 5
Good concepts, bad execution

Onboard Activities

3 out of 5
Mostly designed for older folks

Entertainment

5 out of 5
The production cast and band were very solid.

Children's Programs

1 out of 5
Very little for older kids

Service and Staff

5 out of 5

Ship Quality

5 out of 5

Ship Tip

If you can, swing for the upscale restaurants. They are worth it. Also, unless you're a borderline alcoholic, I'd avoid the drink package.

1 out of 5
Port of Houston is very industrial
3 out of 5
Lots of tourism, but off the path gems can be found
5 out of 5
Caye Caulker was amazing!! Chill, inexpensive, beautiful.
5 out of 5
West End is very touristy. Rent a car and drive east to Camp Bay beech, great little restaurant out on a pier.
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