uptowndude
Second Mate

Joined: 04/24/2013
3
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uptowndude's Past Cruises

Norwegian Jade

November 2015 - Norwegian Jade to Caribbean - Western

Norwegian Jade out of Houston -November28 2015

We had a great price on this cruise and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Compared to past NCL cruises I felt this ship lacked just a little compared to the Jewel which we sailed on last year. To put anyone's concerns to rest about this ship it is clean, the staff competent and the food is fine.

 

We were well treated and have no complaints. I would recommend NCL and the Jade in particular to any family member or friend. The  professional entertainers were of a very high caliber. I enthusiastically recommend the magic act Cripton Magic as well as the 4 member singing group 4Ever. The acrobat duo  was very exciting and David Naster  is a very funny comedian that we had seen before. We spent several days around the pool stage enjoying the music of TruLife, which is a 3 piece Reggae band that does a lot of Bob Marley as well as other covers.

 

We did not go to the main dining room but for one meal and it was good with excellent service. Most meals we took at the Garden Room buffet for reasons of our own. There was always a great variety and the items we had were always warm and fresh. Yes, I gained weight as always.

 

We had an inside cabin on deck 11 aft. Plenty of closet space, everything worked,an attentive steward who kept the cabin straightened but whom we really never saw. My only slight complaint is that our cabin, 11643, was directly under the Great Outdoors area (which I really liked) on the aft of deck 12. About 5AM the crew would do some cleaning or table moving and I could hear the thumps in our cabin. Really that was a very minor thing. Otherwise, the cabin was convenient but not too close to the aft elevators which accessed the Garden Cafe and the Grand Pacific main dining room.

 

One of us had a foot injury which limited our mobility for the ports or excursions. We found the ships staff to be very accommodating about our injury especially the boarding and disembarkation processes.

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Norwegian Jewel

November 2014 - Norwegian Jewel to Caribbean - Western

NCL Jewel Nov 1, 2014 out of Houston

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.

 

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Carnival Magic

April 2013 - Carnival Magic to Caribbean - Eastern

Good time on board as expected

This was our fifth cruise with Carnival but only our first time on the Magic. As expected the ship was clean, the crew friendly, the food good and the desserts below average. For a ship with 3500 passengers the loading process went very smoothly and at no time did the ship ever seem crowded. We did the anytime dining and never had to wait in line for more than a few minutes for a table. I liked that there was an adults only section, numerous hot tubs & lots of shrimp on the menu,. This large ship had several features not found on the slightly smaller ships we had sailed on such as the dedicted Mongollian Stirfry at lunch, the appetizer bar at dinner, the Tandoor grill at lunch and the expanded playground/waterpark area on the upper decks. Especially the tippping waterfall bucket. We truly enjoyed the 24 hour ice cream and hot chocolate!

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uptowndude's Tips

Norwegian Jade Norwegian Jade - Don't miss the bridge viewing area on deck 11. It is very interesting.
Belize City, Belize - Town is pretty sketchy. Book an excursion. The Belize museum (housed in and old colonial jail) is worth a visit.
Trujillo, Honduras - Beautiful area and very friendly people. We spent time in town and at the beach. Next time I would probably book a trip farther down the coast to the park or a nature center.
Cozumel, Mexico - Walk off the ship not too far from downtown (walkable). The water is the best anywhere. Do your water activities here.
Norwegian Jewel Norwegian Jewel - 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.
Nassau, Bahamas - People are really friendly in the Bahamas. Not in your face like Jamaica.
Carnival Magic Carnival Magic - Check out the barbque on the outdoor Lido deck forward for lunch on sea days. Grilled sliders and quesadillas
Galveston, Texas - Lots of things to do and they really know how to load people on the ship.
Key West, Florida - Turn left off the ship for some great $5 shops. Hemingway's house is pricey at $13. Zachary Taylor State park is great for the beach and the fort.

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received a helpful vote on their Carnival Magic cruise review - Good time on board as expected

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shared a quick tip for Norwegian Jade"Don't miss the bridge viewing area on deck 11. It is very interesting."

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received a helpful vote on their Norwegian Jewel cruise review - NCL Jewel Nov 1, 2014 out of Houston

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