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5 out of 5

Hottest Alaskan Cruise by maureengallaghe

Verified Review
/ Sail Date: / Traveled As: Singles/Friends

Dave, the cruise director was personable, fun and really made you feel at home. The staff always said hello and asked if they could help. My steward went out of his way to compliment me and ask about my day. Everything flowed nicely. There was something going on all the time, shows, music, games, and non-stop food options. I was traveling by myself, but never felt alone. Looking forward to going on my next cruise.

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2.9 out of 5

Disappointing Cruise by FirstCruiseinAu

Verified Review
/ Sail Date: / Traveled As: Family (older children)

Overall I will not be going on the Norwegian Jewel again. While the standard for food may be lower in Australia, I don’t think cold food and food that was cooked hours ago is acceptable to be served anywhere, whether it’s the buffet or main dining rooms.

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5 out of 5

Magnificent Cruise by PBSHO

Verified Review
/ Sail Date: / Traveled As: Couple

Norwegian Jewel is a beautiful ship. Even though it is older, it is kept super clean and everything is in good shape. Crew is fantastic from the Captain to hotel services. Entertainment was very enjoyable and food was good. They could use a little more seating in Garden Cafe but always found a seat, just took a few minutes. You have the option of eating in the other restaurants and no problem with seating there. A wonderful cruise, Thank You Norwegian!

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3.4 out of 5

Nice but not great by trees4two

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/ Sail Date: / Traveled As: Singles/Friends

The glaciers were the best part. I wouldn't advise anyone to cruise this area this late in the season. Too rainy and the ports were mainly small and poor.

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5 out of 5

Excellent Experience by NCLaccount9950

Verified Review
/ Sail Date: / Traveled As: Family (older children)

This was our very first cruise and we thoroughly enjoyed it.  Everything went like clockwork from getting checked in and on-board to disembarking at the end of our cruise.  We especially enjoyed our waiter in Tsar's Palace, Raja, who was very personable and always trying to make dinner fun.  He remembered us from day one, and we began asking to be seated in his area. Mark was our steward, and he was always helpful and available.  He too remembered our names from day 1.  Our room was always clean, and we especially looked forward to the towel animals each evening.  The shows in the Stardust Theater were fabulous!  We enjoyed the Band on the Run performances, Tina Turner tribute, the Acrobatics, and the magician very much.  The Norwegian booking agents were extremely helpful in getting us a fantastic cabin.  We truly appreciated their help.  We will likely book our next cruise on Norwegian and will recommend them to friends. Thank you for a fantastic experience.

 

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5 out of 5

Fabulous Cruise! by Urain

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/ Sail Date: / Traveled As: Singles/Friends

We had such a great time on this cruise!  Very relaxing!  Smooth Waters! The food was great!  All the specialty restaurants were superb!    The Panama Canal was very interesting and the narrative given was a nice added feature!  Enjoyed all the countries we visited and checked off another continent.  We love Norwegian!  Ian the Cruise Director was very entertaining and our waiter in th Tsar Palace was very good at remembering all the little things we enjoyed each night!

 

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3.6 out of 5

Beautiful scenery, wonderful people, great trip by deebanderson

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/ Sail Date: / Traveled As: Couple

We so enjoyed our first-ever cruise. Everything and everyone on board made the trip so special. The only negative was the high cost of the shore excursions. They were tremendously expensive for what they offered. We can't recommend Norwegian, your staff and "Freestyle Cruising" enough to our friends.

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3 Comments
4 out of 5

Great crew by valmal17

Verified Review
/ Sail Date: / Traveled As: Couple

The crew on the ship are fantastic! They are super friendly and helpful. They'll always take a moment to stop and speak with you, even if just to ask you about your day. And that's how the whole staff acts from the chefs to the stateroom maintenance to the spa workers.  They're all really friendly. 

 

There are a few things that Norwegian could do a little better at. The food at the regular dining areas were just ok. The food at the specially restaurants was really amazing. I would have also appreciated some better entertainment geared towards my age group. There were only 2 movie channels and a couple movie nights. The channels often re-aired some of the same movies multiple times. Charging less for the activities they do have would also be beneficial. 

 

Overall the trip was great. The locations and shore excursions were lots of fun and there were a lot of options. I saw everything I wanted to see and more onboard and onshore. I would highly recommend this cruise to others. 

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4 out of 5

First time Cruise by Cruiser36693507

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/ Sail Date: / Traveled As: Couple

Our dining room experience in the Azura Restaurant and Tsar's Palace were both excellent.  The food was gourmet, delicious, and excellent service.  The food in the Garden Café was certainly a world-wide variety and the buffet should have appealed to the passengers of every nation.  The staff went out of their way to provide  friendly and gracious service.

Our stateroom was clean and our steward was friendly and very anxious to be helpful.

 

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5 out of 5

Fabulous Alaska Sawyer Glacier (Seattle Roundtrip) by wtm0424

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/ Sail Date: / Traveled As: Couple

Loved this cruise on the Norwegian Jewel.  The best excursion by far was the Whale watching and Mendenhall Glacier.  We saw several Humpbacks and saw one breach 4 times!  We also enjoyed the train ride in Skagway and walking around there and in Ketchikan.  

 

We loved the Jewel and had would recommend a starboard balcony cabin to catch all of the beautiful scenery and many photo ops. The staff on the Jewel were friendly and helpful.  Choice of eating venues and quality of food was excellent compared to other cruise lines we've been on.  

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5 out of 5

the best by loving123666

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/ Sail Date: / Traveled As: Couple

going through the canal the great food love Norwegian the wait staff was superb will be a loyal Norwegian cruiser the ports were great  love the accomodations will always cruse norwegian

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4.2 out of 5

Very nice Alaskan cruise by anasanav

Verified Review
/ Sail Date: / Traveled As: Singles/Friends

I am happy with my cruise experience. It was nice to be away from busy stressful routine and be pampered for a week. Sometimes this matters more than visiting or seeing. I just loved the friendly smily staff and all the entertainment and effort they put forth to make us feel at home and we truly called it a welcome home when coming back from walking all day in the cold.

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4.9 out of 5

Fantastic Alaskan Cruise by bridoering

Verified Review
/ Sail Date: / Traveled As: Family (older children)

Wonderful trip. The crew was spectacular, the excursions we chose were a good fit for our family. I would highly recommend this trip. We all felt the Alaskan ports were similar. It's the excursions at each that made them fun.

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4 out of 5

Staff were great by mendozajudy

Verified Review
/ Sail Date: / Traveled As: Couple

Mostly Elder folks. Cruise ship is for Elderly folks. we are the youngest cruiser in the group. Had a great time with my wife spending our honeymoon. Staff/crew were excellent. Food is good. Sumptuous meal every time. Enjoyed also the entertainment. Had no issues with Embarkation and Disembarkation.

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5 out of 5

Don't judge a ship by its cover! by ARCJCM

Sail Date: / Traveled As: Couple

We recently returned from an eight-day inside passage Alaska cruise on the Norwegian Jewel. We sailed in an Owner’s Suite (10004 — category H3), which is part of The Haven. For those like myself who prefer to see rather than read, I've posted videos of our trip and our cabin to a YouTube playlist, which can be accessed here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLDWI8b8Zxdm2J8XAVKehnsy0cLDOFcCgj

 

This was our first cruise, and we were big cruise skeptics. Our vacation travel is generally more geared toward luxury, and we tend to avoid crowds, which is why we’ve avoided cruising. Because we were eager to see Alaska, we decided to shelve our cruise prejudice, knowing that cruising is the most efficient way to see the state. To quickly get to the point, although our trip didn't start out so well, we ended up having an amazing vacation on the Jewel, and we're already looking forward to taking more trips with Norwegian soon.

As you're reading this review, keep in mind that it starts negative and gets positive. I’m trying to be candid about our experience, so it only makes sense to share our experience and impressions as they really happened!

DEPARTURE:

Our cruise departed from Vancouver, BC, and returned to Seattle, WA. As cruise newbies, we found the security, customs, and boarding process in Vancouver to be chaotic and confusing. We thought maybe it was just our newness that made us overwhelmed by the process, but we talked with several frequent cruisers who said they had never seen it so bad before. We were told to expect that we would be directed to an area reserved for Haven and Suite guests, but that didn't happen — eventually we found this area, but there were no staff present, so we didn't know what to do. We later learned that the absence of staff was due to an all-crew drill that, unfortunately for us, coincided with our scheduled embarkation. From staff and other regular NCL cruisers, it sounds like this embarkation process was absolutely not the norm.

SHIP & CABIN:

 

Once we got on the ship, our initial reaction was quite negative. The common areas looked old and dated, and the pool deck, in particular, felt like it had been designed in the 70s. The  obnoxiously loud (but fading) color scheme on the pool deck looked like something out of a circus or an old Las Vegas casino. The plastic, cartoon-style palm trees surrounding the pool were especially ugly. For a ship built in 2005 — and subsequently renovated — we were surprised at some of these design decisions.

While our Owner's Suite was similarly dated in appearance, it was spacious (700+ square feet) and functional, and offered some of the best views on the ship. Our suite was 10004, which is on the front-starboard side of the ship, positioned directly below the ship's bridge. We've made a video tour of this cabin, which you can view on YouTube: https://youtu.be/vJyplnCQraA

The decor of the suite didn't feel like something designed in this century. The carpet looked new, but the furnishings, wall/ceiling treatments, artwork, TVs, and bathroom finishings all looked old and worn. However, we grew to love this room.

The suite is very functional with ample living space, dining space, and privacy. The living area includes a pull-out sofa, lounge chair and chaise, in addition to a 32” (or so) old plasma TV and DVD player. The dining area has a large table with four chairs and could comfortably accommodate four diners. In addition to the master bathroom with a dual-vanity, the suite included a half-bath, which certainly came in handy when getting ready in the mornings.

In the bedroom, the king-size bed was comfortable, and the linens were fine, if not particularly memorable. The bedroom has another small, dated plasma TV with a DVD player. There is also a writing desk with additional storage, though it's unlikely you'll need it — this suite has a massive walk-in closet connected to the master bathroom. We felt like we had plenty of places to hide our junk!

Aside from the incredible views afforded by the two balconies, we grew to love this suite because of its size and function. We had privacy from each other when we wanted it, but could keep it open when we didn't. It has plenty of space for storage — more than you'll likely need. And the furniture, while ugly, was comfortable and functional.

We'd like to see Norwegian update the technology in the room to include modern TVs with on-demand movie offerings. We were disappointed that the TVs were so old that they didn't include HDMI ports that we would use to connect our iPads to watch our own TV shows, movies and videos.

And lastly, we'd like to see Norwegian install better window coverings in the master bath. The current coverings are see-through, and with a window looking out to the side balcony, you couldn't help but feel a little exposed — and yes, you can clearly see through the shade from the balcony in to the bathroom (we tested it so you don't have to).

 

During a more extensive refit, I'm confident this room could be made stunning, but even as it stands today, we would happily sail in it again.

 

DINING:

Dining onboard was, I imagine, fairly typical for Norwegian. The specialty/up-charge restaurants we tried were all exceptionally good. We ate at Teppanyaki (hibachi-style Japanese), Le Bistro (French), La Cucina (Italian), and Cagney's (steakhouse). Our personal favorite was Cagney's, which we visited twice. Also, as guests of The Haven, we were entitled to breakfast and lunch in Moderno, reserved for guests in The Haven and certain suites. While we never went to breakfast, this lunch was also exceptional, and the food was always well prepared, hot, and delicious. We did wish, however, that the lunch menu had changed at least once over our eight days, but this wasn't too much of a concern because we liked what was offered — we just ended up eating it more than once.

 

We also tried three of the free dining venues on the ship: Chin Chin (Chinese), the Garden Cafe (buffet), and room service. Chin Chin was very good and what you would expect from a Western-style Chinese restaurant. We were also impressed with the buffet, and left it feeling very satisfied. Room service, however, was not good. The food tasted like something from a school cafeteria, so if you're ordering from the standard room service menu, stick to the simple things, like desserts and sandwiches.

 

SERVICE:

 

After the initial confusion with boarding, service was exceptional, which is really what helped change our perspective on the trip. If I had to pinpoint one thing that made our trip special, it was the quality of service we received from the staff onboard. With very few exceptions, the staff were polite, professional, happy, and committed to creating a positive guest experience. For us, the real standouts were our suite's butler, Mary Jane, and the concierge for suites and The Haven, Bruno. Mary Jane was warm, personable, and informative. She handled all of our requests with aplomb, and always went out of her way to do something special and unexpected for us. Bruno was a consummate professional who took great strides to accommodate us for everything from last-minute reservations in the specialty dining restaurants to getting us tickets on fully-booked excursions after our original excursions were cancelled due to inclement weather. I really hope we have an opportunity to cruise with Mary Jane and Bruno again because they make an excellent team. Norwegian would do well to keep them on staff!

 

We also grew quite close to the wait staff in Cagney's because they also served lunch in Moderno for Haven and suite guests. It was nice getting to know each of them, and when we would see them around the ship, they would always greet us by name and ask about our trip. This really made us feel welcome and looked after.

The only “service” complaint we have is about the onboard internet and is not tied to a member of the staff. To put it bluntly, the internet is terrible. We bought two unlimited internet packages and wouldn't do it again. When it worked, it barely worked — and the rest of the time, it just didn't work at all. Save your money and just wait until you get in to port!

 

EXCURSIONS:

By now, you're probably as tired of reading as I am of typing, but I'll leave a quick note on excursions. We scheduled excursions in every port on our trip through Norwegian, and all of them were high-quality and worthwhile. But because of Alaska's moody weather patterns, we did have a few that got cancelled — namely those that involved flying (the “pilot's choice” glacier tour by helicopter, and a seaplane tour). Bruno, the concierge for The Haven, managed to get us on a seaplane tour at a later port, which I would highly recommend. Not only is the scenery beautiful, the ride itself was fun! And make sure that if you're in Alaska you do at least one whale-watching trip. You will almost certainly see a lot of whales, and it was really breathtaking.

IN CONCLUSION:

 

In sum, our trip was excellent. Better than expected. The staff — in particular our butler, Mary Jane, and concierge, Bruno — were exemplary. Our inside passage itinerary was a perfect introduction to Alaska. And once we stopped fixating on the aesthetics of the ship and allowed ourselves to relax, we ended up having an amazing time. We loved the size of the Jewel — and by the time we were done with the cruise, we felt like we knew every nook and cranny of the ship, and grew to love its character. Just like with people, I think the same saying applies to ships: You can't always judge a book, or ship, by its cover.

On the last day of our cruise, we made deposits for two future cruises with NCL in The Haven. We're already excited to figure out where we want to go next, and I'm hopeful that the next cruises live up to the ridiculously high standard set by our first.

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5 out of 5

My wife and I wanted... by duhsty

Sail Date: /

My wife and I wanted to try NCL’s Freestyle Cruising and Alaska was on our bucket list.  So, the Norwegian Jewel seemed like a good fit.  We were not disappointed.  The entertainment was absolutely amazing!  I especially enjoyed Band On The Run.  The variety of music was wonderful, and the performers were so talented.The daytime activities (games, music, trivia, demonstrations, etc.) were also fun ways to spend time onboard.  We made a point to try every restaurant possible (only missing Teppanyaki).  Nearly all the food was absolutely delicious.  Chin Chin provided the only disappointment, with a choice of flavorless noodles, mostly broth pho or overly salty noodles.  However, when my wife dropped off a comment card, the Hotel Director personally called her to apologize.  This sort of customer service was standard on the Jewel.  Everyone bent over backwards to be friendly and helpful.  We were fortunate to have good weather while in Alaska, and the excursions did not disappoint.  The whale watching and wildlife quest operated by Allen Marine was breathtaking.  Seeing a humpback whale breaching repeatedly was an unexpected treat.  Skagway was the port I wish we had more time to experience.  So many cool restaurants and shops.  I could have hung out at Skagway Brewing Co. drinking Spruce Tip Blonde Ale all evening.  I strongly recommend the Norwegian Jewel and the Alaskan itineraries, and look forward to our next NCL cruise.

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5 out of 5

Excellent in all the aspects thanks by sparatore

Verified Review
/ Sail Date: / Traveled As: Couple

Nothing bad to say the organization and conduct of the cruise has been simply perfect. Crew has shown a professional skill the is rare to find around. As I am an old Merchant Navy Captain, former Navy Seal, and actual Experimental Flight Test Engineer, professionalism is one of the first things I am going to look for in any activity of my life.

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4 out of 5

Anniversary Cruise by racheloki810

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/ Sail Date: / Traveled As: Singles/Friends

What a great way to see Mexico for the first time!  A great way to celebrate our anniversary, too. Warm and caring employees, good food and great excursions. Lots of activities to keep you busy on sea days.  Fun and exciting nightly shows.

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3 out of 5

Good Cruise by corey1665414

Verified Review
/ Sail Date: / Traveled As: Family (young children)

Cruise was good. The entertainment was really great... some of the best I have seen on a Cruise Ship. The Buffet food was good as well. Kids Club gets a A+++++. Our 11 year old couldn't wait to go.

 

The Specialty dining was the biggest disappointment. The Teppan restaurant was terrible. Also the Chin Chin Restaurant (though not a specialty dining restaurant) was dreadful as well. These two restaurants look like they are managed by a single manager that sets the tone for his employees. The manager nor many of the employees in these restaurants are very friendly and when you ask them for a simple thing like a drink it seems as if you are putting them out. 

 

The Italian specialty restaurant was just ok. Just regular italian food that you could have eaten at the buffet. 

 

All in All.... good cruise and many of the staff are just so great. They make the cruise really memorable and enjoyable!

 

P.S. The ship is definitely a little "tired". Needs to have a renovation to bring the sparkle back. :)

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3.2 out of 5

Disappointing by rebbe345

Verified Review
/ Sail Date: / Traveled As: Couple

Always heard cruises were great. Food was ok, but nothing to write home about. Entertainment was fair at best. Ship seemed very crowded for its size. Everything on the ship seemed like a sales pitch. Would not do this again.

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