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  1. Hello everyone. This forum has been very giving to me in the last few months and I now is my time to pay back to this community. I have created a blog for our trip and I will be posting links of our daily itineraries here. So lets start off with our arrival in Vancouver. https://vacationer.blogspot.com/2019/08/day-0-arrival-in-vancouver.html
  2. We are doing one of the last Alaska cruises this year - return Vancouver in last week of September. Wondered if anyone has the dailies for the return cruise? I believe this itinerary is only offered early and late season, so perhaps someone has these from May or even last year on the Jewel? They do remain mostly the same, but is obviously quite different from the Northbound or Southbound. So if anyone has these available, sharing will be very much appreciated.
  3. This will be a review of our NCL Jewel Alaska Cruise. The review will include images of the specialty dining menus. Yes the prices have changed on the new menus. It will also include the cruise dailies. . We were a family group of 12 which included three generations. Included in this family group were two first-time cruisers. The group consisted of four in the 70’s, five in their 40’s and three children ages 14, 14, and 12. Three of the group flew to Seattle early to visit family. They took the Amtrak train from Seattle to Vancouver on Sunday. The other nine members flew Delta from Cincinnati to Vancouver Sunday evening. They did not arrive in Vancouver until 9:45 PDT. The family had reserved five rooms at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Riverport Richmond. This hotel was not near the airport or the Canada Place Cruise Ship Terminal. The hotel did have a free airport shuttle. We really did not use the hotel for anything other than to sleep and eat breakfast. We found this to be a typical Holiday Inn Express. It was very clean and the staff courteous. Day 1 - Embarkation We had booked transportation from the hotel to the Canada Place Cruise Ship Terminal with KJ Limousine Services Inc. This company was very professional. The company had me setup an account online to manage the reservation. The van used was only a few weeks old and plenty of room for the 12 of us with luggage. The driver was to pick us up at 10:30. He was there about 10:15. He was very courteous and professional. The driver gave us a quick tour of Vancouver on the way to the port. We arrived at the port at 11:15. This embarkation may have been the easiest of any of my thirteen cruises. The driver took us to the luggage drop-off. There were many porters available to take our luggage. From that point on we never stood in line. We were directed to the next station which as others have stated were on different floors. We received our key-cards and were on the ship at noon. This was perfect as the Tsar’s Palace had just opened for lunch. We always go to the main dining room for embarkation lunch avoiding the confusion of the buffet. As always this lunch was very relaxing. The Tsar lunch menu is the same every day of the cruise. After lunch we toured the ship until our cabins were ready. Our cabins were port side obstructed view on deck 8 mid. They were obstructed by the lifeboats with no view from any of the five cabins. That was OK for us as we spent very little time in the cabin other than to sleep. I always leave the TV on Ship's bow camera channel with the sound muted. This gives a nice nightlight and a nice view when awaking. These cabins were in a perfect location. They were very close to O'Sheehan's. It was very nice to be able to walk down for coffee no matter what time we woke up. The cabins were available by 2 PM. Deck 8 was one of the last decks to have cabins ready. The muster drill was at 4 PM. Our station was in the Bliss Lounge and there were enough chairs for everyone to sit. This has not been the case on my last three NCL cruises. I really liked that the ship’s speaker system was used to give the safety information. This was much better than a staff member speaking without a microphone. I found that the people at our station were courteous and did not carry-on their own conversations during the drill. Definitely the best drill attended recently. After the drill was Sail-Away. It was exciting being on a high deck and approaching the Lions Gate Bridge. It looked as if the Jewel would not fit. As we went under there were many people standing on the bridge waving. The Jewel fit with room to spare. I did learn that bridge is the reason the Bliss and Joy leave from Seattle. Those ships will not fit under the Lions Gate Bridge. After Sail-Away our group had reservations at Tsar’s Palace Main Dining Room for 5:30 dinner. I had made reservations for all the evening meals at the 120 day mark. The MDR reservations could be made online for 12. The specialty dining reservations had to be made via the Special Events department email. That was done easily and they responded back quickly with amenity confirmations. Upon arrival at Tsar’s we found a long table set for us. The service was quick for a large group. For me the evening meal is the highlight of the cruise. It is great watching the family members share the day’s events with each other. This is the only meal time that we eat together as a group. After the meal there was no activity planned. Many were tired and walked around the ship awhile before going to bed. My wife and I went to the casino. We found the casino to be smaller than other ships, but there was still a good choice of machines. Neither one of us found smoking to be a problem in this casino.
  4. I've always enjoyed reading peoples' experiences so here are mine. Sorry, no dailies but I can try to answer any questions. Expect lots of spelling and grammatical errors... FIRST DAY Cruise left Vancouver on 7/29. I booked a sailaway inside cabin 2 weeks before sailing to get a cheap rate. I placed bids for an ocean view and on a balcony but my bids were low so no upgrade. Embarking took slightly longer than I thought at maybe 45-60 minutes (arrived at around 1). I was able to go to the expedited line since I showed my Global Entry card (although honestly I have no idea why this would help at check in, but it did allow me to skip the main line which easily had over 200 people on it).When I went to check in, they still didn't have a room assignment for me so I was told to take a seat and that someone would find me when it's ready (this is where most of the time was spent). Someone got me and took me straight to check in. After check in, I went through security. Had no problems with my 11 cans of mini Diet Cokes in my luggage (I elected to carry on my own luggage). At customs the line wasn't bad. They do have a Global Entry line which is at booth 1 however you cannot see it from when you enter. One of the workers told me I could go straight to line 1, however the other lines were the same length so he suggested just staying in the general line so I did. The location of my room was pretty good...level 7 and only had neighbors on one side of me. Never heard any noise from other cabins or from above. The room was tiny, but functional so it wasn't too bad. My bed was already set up as a queen instead of 2 separate beds which was perfect for me as I went solo. I did bump into the bunkbed (was closed up) a few times though since I sleep on the right side of the bed. Kind of surprised 3 people would book this room unless on a budget because it was already small for me. No problems with the toilet. The shower was good however, the water temperature did frequently change although nothing drastic. When I met people who booked the inside cabins, but where they got to pick the locations, they all seemed to be on level 3 and 4. On embarkation day I went to the spa raffle (didn't win), ate lunch at the Irish themed pub (burger was fairly good), and went to a solo cruiser's meet. It was mainly retired people, but there were some around my age (30s). I went to dinner that night with a woman in the group and we had fun talking about travels and work (same profession). I also took a tour of the spa. Honestly, as someone who loves spas, I wasn't really impressed so I decided not to buy a day pass. I also felt the women who worked in the spa were very pushy to the point of being rude. DAY TO DAY STUFF I more or less did the same on board stuff each day....Jacuzzi and pool, and napping. The cruise had designated adult areas and people actually followed the rules (on the Sun, it was a free for all). I met nice people who I would often see throughout the cruise who I met in either the pool or Jacuzzi (never led to eating or seeing a show with them though as some came with their families, and the other were 2 guys who I think just wanted to do their own thing whenever which I get). The shows I saw on board consisted of a Russian husband and wife acrobat/dance duo which actually wasn't bad, but it just wasn't my kind of thing. I only went to it because I ran into people from the group who invited me and had no plans. I was surprised to see them eating a couple of times at the buffet when they have like no body fat. They probably just ate salad though. I also saw a comedian (Larry something) during the adult comedy night. He was probably the best comedian I have had on a cruise. The rest of the main events for musical numbers which I had no interest in seeing, and another comedy night which had no age minimum.I didn't use the gym although I did plan on using it (honestly!!). In Vancouver I got really bad painful blisters on my feet and didn't want to make it worse by doing my usual exercise. Nothing like spending $6 Canadian dollars on a box of mediocre band aids! The gym did have a small steam room infused with eucalyptus. I used it a couple of times. Would have used it more but it frequently would be closed before it was supposed to close (per the sign). FOOD Same experience from when I went on the Sun... Most of the food is edible... not amazing and often isn't good. I had breakfast each day in the buffet since I like getting up early and sitting with binoculars looking for whales. Breakfast buffet was your usually stuff where you couldn't go wrong. NCL has the best muesli, so I ate that almost daily. I also liked their raisin French toast with this banana sauce thing. Once in awhile they had lox and scrambled eggs on a bagels which was really good. I spent lunch and dinners at all their complimentary restaurants. Again nothing blew my mind, however there were some heroes...The dining rooms had 2 really good desserts. One was this orange thing with some type of berry ice cream. The other was this chocolate mouse over red velvet cake. Cons? Their pasta selection at the buffet was really lacking. The first night you had your choice of 2 pastas with limited sauces, but on the other night you only had 1 choice. The fish at all restaurants was pretty much inedible because it was either under-cooked (fish and chips at the pub were gross), or really dry. The prime rib and the other red meat dish served at the buffet typically consisted mainly of fat. I actually ate fairly healthy for lunches and dinners always making sure I had a salad. I did regularly get ice cream though or their crepes. Crepes were good, but aside from bananas, the fruit isn't fresh. SOLO MEETS I went solo (34F) and went to the events for solos at least in the beginning. This ship doesn't have the studio rooms, so no solo lounge, however there was still somewhat of an attempt to get us party of 1's to meet each other. Each evening was the same. Meet at 6 in a small room adjacent to a lounge and make dinners arrangements. We had a very nice bubbly host who made dinner plans for people. She also tried to play matchmaker for me for a guy I was crushing on within the group (I can share more about this but it's off topic LOL). Like I stated earlier, the group consisted mainly of older people who often just complained, along with a few younger people. The younger ones were all cool and professionals. No one was weird. It seemed like we just either got fed up with friends uninterested in traveling for whatever reason (finances, work, etc), preferred traveling solo, or who just booked something last minute and wanted to relax. All were professional. The more into the cruise though, the more we lost people. Newbs would show their faces though. I stopped going mid cruise. Why? When cute guy stopped going as well as a couple of the ones that I liked talking to stopped going, I stopped too. I got sick of eating early dinners with retirees who often just complained. PORTS (excursions all booked independently) This was my 2nd Alaskan cruise. When I did the first one, I went cheap on everything and regretted it (hence the 2nd cruise). The first stop was Ketchikan. It's not the most exciting port. A lot of the excursions were of no interest to me. I was planning on riding a bike at Ward Lake especially since there was no rain, but again with my blisters I passed. I did light hiking up to see the 2 fish ladders. I saw salmon running!!! This was a huge must for me. While it wasn't a large running, it was large enough for me. I also took the free downtown shuttle stop at the area around The Totem Heritage Center. Driver reminded me of Miss. Crabtree from South Park. Seemed uptight and took it out on people (at least on me!). Saw a couple of the free totem poles, but was bored. I did attempt a hike up nearby, but just as a went uphill, I said nah and went back down. Took a leisurely walk next to the Totem Park and took the bus back to port and walked around a little. Had salmon chowder at Fish House at 10:30 since I know it fills up later in the day due to its popularity. Honestly, this was the best chowder that I have ever had. Service was bad.Weather was perfect. No rain whatsoever despite what the forecast said. Juneau was the 2nd stop. Did the canoe tour at Mendenhall. Had a great time. Had excellent weather although it was definitely cold out on the water. I cannot imagine doing this in the rain in which the tour group said is what usually happens. I would be miserable. That's really all I did. I got to town at around 12:30 (tour started at 1:30). I just relaxed in the hot tub most of the morning talking to one of the people I met. Next stop Skagway. I booked an all day Yukon Klondike tour on the bus with Chikoot Charters for $95 (did the train before). Loved it. It included lunch a Caribou Crossing. Lunch was really good surprisingly. The BBQ chicken was cooked perfectly, great coleslaw, and delicious apple donuts! The place is a tourist trap no doubt about it, but I had fun walking around with mini horses, goats, etc walking around. I did find it depressing how they chain the dogs up as they get ready to race. I would have been happier not going to Caribou Crossing because I feel like my $$ goes to support how they treat their dogs. Didn't spend time in Skagway aside from the our. All touristy crap. Glacier Bay sailing was next. Wow, this has changed. When I went in June 2 years ago, GB was huge and was all around it. It was significantly smaller on this trip. Ranger never used the words global warming.Hubbard Glacier is the new GB imo which I saw the next day. It was much more impressive on this trip than on the last time. Cruise director said Hubbard is expanding. Saw lots of calving there, and heard it too. Cruise ended in Seward. Took a 9 hour Kenai Fords tour. Cute guy from the solo meets was on it, and we spent almost all the tour together talking. This tour was expensive. Probably not worth the $, but I'm glad I did it. We couldn't see Resurrection Bay at all due to the fog. Couldn't see most of the glaciers either due to the fog. There were a couple whale sightings, 1 otter sighting, and really just puffin and seagull sightings. Did see some glaciers at the end hearing a lot of calving and seeing some so that was fun. The food sucked, but I knew that coming in. Breakfast was a can of juice, a tiny cinnamon roll, and a yogurt. You had to pay for coffee which I thought was weird. Lunch was a mediocre chicken wrap, chips, and a granola bar. I probably should have gone with Major Marines since their food seemed good, but ended up choosing Kenai Fords because it was slightly longer and cheaper. Ended my day with taking the complimentary shuttle to the train station (almost missed the train due to the shuttle taking 15 minute longer than it was supposed to show up). Took the 6PM train to Anchorage since I was going home. Booked Adventure class (not Gold Star which is the dome seating and included dinner and drinks). People are right saying that there really aren't bad seats. I think the views of wildlife on land may actually be better with the cheaper seats since you aren't high up (although scenery viewings might be better in the dome). I was able to spend most of my time in the complimentary dome that is shared for Adventure class people as it never was full and no one seemed to wait (otherwise I would have gladly gotten up). Decided to skip the dinner. You don't get to choose the time you eat, and the worker said that typically you have to eat with the people in your cart (I had assigned a loud family near me with 3 small kids who weren't well behaved so I opted out of having dinner not wanting to take my chances). Took a Lyft to the airport for $20 (included tip). Uber had surge pricing and wanted $80 or around there. I thought about asking others if they wanted to share a ride, but most had a lot of luggage and came with other people so I knew just to go solo. I did run into a girl I met from the solo meets who I liked, but she wasn't going to the airport. I booked a Basic Economy seat on Delta which I got for $150. It left ANC at 12:55, and had a short stopover in SLC, before arriving at LAX. Initially I was wanting an AA or Alaska flight that were both nonstops that left before midnight, but I got scared of pushing it due to the train coming in at 10:15. I actually would have made both fights since I had no check in luggage, and the precheck line had very few people on it, but I would have been nervous. This was my first time on Basic Economy as I normally always pay to choose my seat out of fear of getting that middle seat or the seat next to the toilet. Surprisingly, I had great seats. From ANC to SLC I had an aisle seat in the middle of the plane and the flight was full. I did volunteer to check in my carry on since I knew there would be little space left for me since people abuse the amount of stuff they take on in order to save $. From SLC to LAX I had a window seat in the middle of the plane and no one had the middle seat (flight wasn't full). Both flights left right on time, and I got my luggage quickly at the carousel at LAX which no long wait. All in all, a fairly nice short trip. 2 nights in Vancouver, 7 nights on the cruise, and 1 very long last day (9 hour cruise and 4 hour train ride). I probably should have just spent my last day at a hotel in ANC or Seward, but I thought what I did made sense since I saved $$ and could sleep on the plane due to being exhausted (I did sleep most of the flights, and I'm someone who can never sleep on planes). While I wouldn't say that I have regrets, I probably wouldn't have done that again. I didn't get sick on the excursion as I took Bodine, but I still felt the rocking in me hours later at the airport and on the airplane. I felt clammy on the flight and thought I would throw up. WILDLIFE Forgot to mention this. Saw no bears. People on the cruise did seem to see them on that rainforest hike in Ketchikan though, and the cute guy in my group saw one in Skagway (he rented a car). I saw most of the whales on my trip actually from the window on the cruise of the buffet in the mornings. No killer whale sightings. Saw a number of otters, sea lions, and seals. Saw those white sheep with horns on the cliffs a few times. Saw moose a few times from the train. Saw a few bald eagles at a distance throughout the trip. And saw a porcupine from the train (I always thought they were the size of a rabbit, but they are much larger than I thought they would be).
  5. We just returned from a summer trip/cruise in Alaska aboard the NCL Jewel, southbound, inside passage. The cruise went from Seward to Vancouver, July 22 - 29, 2019. I use Cruise Critic a lot for researching and planning the cruise, destinations, events, excursions, and tour operators. I wanted to write a review of our journey in case it helps others thinking of a similar trip, or to help you relive your past trip. A little about us; my son just turned 12 on the pre-cruise portion of this trip, I am 50. We travel with my Mom, 72, and my sister, 49, in 2 rooms. We leave the husbands at home for our yearly Mom & Girls & Grandson Trip. We are seasoned travelers and have learned not to sweat the small stuff, which allows our trips go very well. Mom had been to Alaska previously, but it was new territory for the rest of us. It did not disappoint, it was even more beautiful and stunning that anything I had read or seen. You have to experience it to understand how captivating it is. Our southbound trip started with a pre-cruise land trip surrounding Anchorage, followed by the 7-nt cruise (Seward to Vancouver). Temperatures ranged from 50-75 degrees through the trip and it rained at least part of the day for at least half of the cruise. Because Alaska just had a heat wave, I packed more shorts (which I didn’t need) and could have used more pants. I was glad to have my warm raincoat and umbrella on several days. Pre-cruise We were tossing up doing the land tour to Denali through NCL or do our own DIY land tour. We decided that creating our own custom land tour on our own schedule would suit our family better. In a nutshell, we ended up selecting the sites we wanted to see and building hotel and transportation options around that. Our destinations were; Alaska Native Heritage Center (Anchorage), Visit cousin Lee (Anchorage), , Helicopter Glacier Dog-Sledding (Girdwood), Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center (Girdwood), Kenai Boat Tour and/or SeaLife Center (Seward). We left the last day in Seward open in case the sledding tour had to be moved due to weather. We did 3 nights in Anchorage as our home base and 1 night in Seward. In reflection, we could have skipped the night in Seward, and come straight in on the day of our cruise to do either Kenai or SeaLife before the cruise left at 9 PM, but it was nice to have the extra day in case the sledding tour was moved, get a sense of this lovely, small coastal town by staying the night, and be right there at the cruise departure point. We stayed at the Comfort Suites Airport in Anchorage 3 nts, and I would highly recommend this place. It was only 4 miles from the airport but nestled in the pine trees. There was a lounge to eat dinner with limited bar-food / entrees which also doubled as the included hot breakfast area. There was a shuttle that picked us up from the airport and the driver offered to drive us to a local restaurant and took us back to get a rental car at the airport the second day. The staff were all helpful. We would stay here again. The first day was a travel day into Anchorage. Three of us came from Northern and Southern CA, and sister came in from NC. Both of my bags were held in SMF and did not arrive in ANC until late in the evening after I had gone to bed. Luckily the hotel gave son & I complimentary toiletries to get through the night. The hotel held my bags in a locked room until I came down for them in the morning. The next morning after breakfast, we headed out to the Alaska Native Heritage Center (Anchorage). It was a wonderful stop. We learned about the Alaskan Native tribes and how they lived, including the types of home they lived in, which were actually built here around a pond on a walking trail. We watched live tribal dances and games on the center stage and saw handicrafts and talked with artist’s at their booths. There was a theater and a nice gift shop. It took about 2 hours to go through. That afternoon, we stopped at Mom’s cousin Lee’s house near the Cook Inlet (Anchorage), and went to Simon & Seafort’s for dinner to celebrate kiddo’s 12th birthday. Talk about the best King crab of the entire Alaskan trip! Overlooking Cook Inlet (of Captain Cook fame), the restaurant had a large share of tourists dressed in all attire. It was loud inside and would be great for those with children, though prices are on the steep side but not too far off from food prices overall in Alaska as we came to find out. I will continue to write the review in the evening after work and hope to be complete in just a couple of more days ..
  6. Just arrived home from our cruise Vancouver to Seward on the Jewel. This was only our second cruise and we are in love with Norwegian (sorry Carnival). We stayed in an inside cabin and will always choose an inside to save money (or be able to spend money elsewhere). The food was delicious, the shows were amazing. The staff were great. My son went to Splash Academy almost every day and they worked so hard to make sure the kids had a great time. Need to sort through 8 days worth of pictures and start planning our next cruise 🙂
  7. Does anyone know if NCL is changing The Haven Deluxe Owner's Suite to a 2-Bedoom Family Villa on The Jewel? I was looking to book an Alaskan Cruise on the Jewel in June of 2021. I noticed that the floor plan has changed on The Haven Deluxe Owner's Suite with Large Balcony (Cat. H4, Deck 9, Cabin 9004) for sailings on or after 9/14/2020. They are now showing the floor plan for The Haven 2-Bedroom Family Villa. I called NCL twice and they were unable to answer my question. I don't want to book the wrong cabin. Thanks room.docx
  8. I’m live from the Jewel (between Hubbard and Seward) for a few Minutes. Any questions you are dying to ask?
  9. Hi everyone! My fiancé and I are trying to plan a honeymoon to Alaska in August 2020. We are looking at both the Norwegian Jewel and Bliss. We are leaning towards the Norwegian Jewel because it is significantly cheaper (leaving more $ for excursions) and we would also be getting a balcony. I have never cruised with NCL before, only with RCL and Carnival. Do you think the Jewel would be sufficient for a honeymoon? Since it is a smaller ship, does it have fun activities to do during the sea days like trivia, scavenger hunts, etc.? Please keep in mind we will be 24 and 25 years old, and are not "party" people at all... our favorite things to do include hiking, sightseeing, movie/drive-ins, and just relaxing in general. Thank you in advance! :)
  10. It's been reported here for a while now that sometime in the Fall of 2020, on the Jewel-class ships, NCL is going to make some changes with respect to the amenities and perhaps prices of the forward-facing Penthouse suites on Decks 9 and 10 (now categorized as SE), and the aft-facing Penthouse suites on Decks 8, 9, and 10 (now categorized as SF). Much of what has been discussed on here is only rumor and speculation, since there's been no formal announcement of anything. However, given that people are now able to book cruises in late 2020 and into 2021, I thought it might be helpful to have a thread in which we can list the factual information that can be gleaned as of right now from the ships' deck plans and from the booking engine on NCL's own site. This being the internet, there will always be rumor and speculation, 😁, but here is what NCL's web site is showing now: 1. Looking at the deck plans for the various Jewel-class ships, we can see different dates in Fall 2020 when the changes on each ship with respect to the SE and SF suites will take place. The Gem deck plans are different for cruises departing before and after Oct. 30, 2020; for the Jade, the changeover date is Nov. 20, 2020; for the Jewel, it's Sept. 14, 2020, and for the Pearl, it's Oct. 10, 2020. 2. According to the deck plans, after those dates on each ship, the SE and SF suites will be split into four different categories: What are now the aft-facing SF suites on Deck 10 (these have the largest balconies of the SF class) will be in a category called SM ("Aft-Facing Penthouse with Large Balcony"). The aft-facing SFs on Decks 8 and 9 will be in a category called SN ("Aft-Facing Penthouse"). What are now the forward-facing SE suites on Decks 9 and 10 will be in a category called SF ("Forward-Facing Penthouse with Large Balcony"), except for the two center suites on Deck 10, 10000 and 10500, which will be in a category all their own called SD ("Forward-Facing Deluxe Penthouse with Large Balcony"). These two suites are directly under the bridge, making their interiors larger because they follow the "bump out" from the bridge. Many folks prefer them because of that, while some prefer the forward-facing suites on Deck 9 because their balconies are larger. 3. Thus, from the deck plans, we can see that NCL has carved out into their own categories what it perceives to be the most desirable aft- and forward-facing Penthouses. With these changes, people are of course speculating that there will be price differences among the new categories, and perhaps even differences in suite amenities, perhaps the elimination of butler and concierge service for some of these suites. I've done a couple of random mock bookings after the changeover dates to see what NCL's web site says now. No need for speculation, these mock bookings show actual price differences and differences in suite perks: Random Mock Booking 1: Gem 11-day Southern Caribbean from NY, departing January 3, 2021. Right now, the price of an SD (the two middle forward-facing Penthouses on Deck 10) is $50 pp more than it is for the SFs (the other forward-facing Penthouses on Deck 10 and 9). Both categories are described as having "butler and concierge service." Likewise, the price of the SM aft-facing Penthouses (the ones on Deck 10) are $50 pp more than the SN aft-facing Penthouses on Decks 8 and 9. But there is a difference in the suite amenities; the SMs are shown as having "butler and concierge service," whereas, for the SNs, NCL's web page says: "butler and concierge service in most." Since there's been no official NCL statement about this that anyone has reported, it does not seem to be known, at least as a matter of fact, which of the SN Penthouses will not have butler and/or concierge service. Maybe this language gives NCL leeway to keep those services going forward, or not, as it finalizes those plans (at least for this cruise). Random Mock Booking 2: Jewel 7-day Western Caribbean from Tampa, departing April 4, 2021. Right now, the price of an SD is $100 pp more than for the SFs. Both categories have this very odd statement about butler service (I say "odd" because neither category is a Haven suite): "Butler and concierge service, queen-size bed, luxury bath with shower, living and dining areas, sleeps up to four. NOTE: BUTLER SERVICE ONLY LISTED FOR HAVENS." Back in the stern, the price of the SMs is $100 pp more than for an SN. The description of services for the SM says: "Butler and concierge, bedroom with queen-size bed, luxury bath, living and dining area, sleeps up to three. NOTE: BUTLER SERVICE ONLY LISTED FOR HAVENS." For the SN, the description reads: "Queen-size bed or two beds that convert to a queen, luxury bath, living and dining area in some, sleeps up to three. Most include Butler and concierge service. NOTE: NO BUTLER SERVICE, SOME WITH CONCIERGE." (It would seem that, on this cruise at least, NCL may intend not to provide butler service for any of the four Penthouse suite categories.) I imagine that more mock bookings would show similar differences, some of them equally vague. For anyone booking one of these suites after the changeover date, I would advise taking a screen shot of the description of your suite amenities, and also calling your TA (if you book with one) or NCL to find out as much as possible about what amenities you will or will not receive. I hope this information is helpful, and I would encourage others to post any facts they may discover about NCL's plans for these Penthouse suites.
  11. Can someone tell me which night is the "White" night on the Jewel? Also I know there are no "formal" nights, but there is still a dress-up night, right? When is that? Trying to plan for our group.
  12. The dailies for the Jewel in Alaska list "Alaska Dinner" one night in the Garden Café and "Fisherman's Dinner" another night. Does anyone know the difference? Someone posted a picture (than I can no longer find) of a fabulous looking buffet that appeared to included mussels, crab claws, clams and other seafood. Was it one of these nights? A different venue? Does this sound familiar to anyone? Thanks.
  13. Quick background for context: All cruising to date was to warm weather destinations – Caribbean/Mexico; and all have been with hubby. MomIL always wanted to do Alaska, and as it departs just about from our front lawn (we live in Vancouver) we’ve booked an end-of-season Vancouver-return deal on the Jewel for the last week of September. So we’re doing a ‘girls trip’ for the first time; booked a ‘guaranteed balcony’ and got all 4 free-at-sea – and the focus will fully be on her to have a good time, so I need help on a few things. 1) Given that there is AC all around am I wrong in assuming that your dress during sea-days and evenings will be more or less as in all other cruises? Of course if you’re NOT venturing outside … or do you have to dress warmly even when staying inside? We are great at layering but wanted to get an idea of how much layering is necessary, especially for the evenings and whether a short sleeve top with pashmina will suffice? We will dress up somewhat for dinner (not eve gown, but planning on slacks and nice top), so these things will be important to her – she will hate to be underdressed or not ‘correctly’ dressed. 2) Doing excursions with Mom will be new … in the past hub and I will do our own freestyleJ, i.e. get off the boat, rent a car, drive ourselves around, hikes, etc etc. With Mom I want to (need to) plan more and think about how much walking and activity is involved (she doesn’t have mobility issues, but is 78 with some health challenges so must think about these things). So, we are visiting Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan – any suggestions on excursions? I would prefer not to do NCL excursions due to price … so budget is important. 3) Mom loves any contact with officers, for that matter anyone in a uniform is to her a very important personJ and if they talk to her she feels fabulous … we’ve never bothered much with the ship activities – are there any activities with officers, or other ship activities that you would recommend? 4) Again, my ignorance shows here – she loves art and history (not my passions), what are the must-do stuff onboard that she may enjoy? 5) Any other suggestions of how I can help her enjoy this cruise to the max will be very much appreciated. She has worked hard to provide full time care for DadIL and deserves a week that is just about her. Thanks everyone!!
  14. Does anyone have a link or can post the dailies for one of the Southbound Alaska cruises on the Jewel?
  15. I am starting to plan and book specialty dinners for me and Mom, but want to make sure we get the shows fitted in ... what times are the shows on at night? Is the 'overview show' the first night only offered once ... at 7 or ...? When do they offer the Cirque show? Which evenings and time? Thanks for your help!
  16. Anyone back from Alaska Jewel cruise that can tell me what the main shows were other than Cirque. Thanks in advance.
  17. I just wanted to THANK all the Roll Call attendee's for making time and going to our Meet & Greet onboard the Jewel June 25 at Le Bistro. We had RSVP'd for 40 guests and surprisingly 43 signed in with 5 coming later. It is very important to continue with these events- that we actually SHOW UP so GREAT JOB Roll Call !! I also wanted to express a huge THANK YOU to Bronx12 and her husband for setting up and conducting the Slot Pull for us. The interest and participation was so much more than expected and was so MUCH FUN! It was also great to see many of the SOLO travelers getting together all during our cruise. It was wonderful to meet NSnJW, canadian bartender, hatt60ftcc, and especially Joyce Montana whom I ran into several times onboard and in our Ports. What a great group of cruisers. Of course none of this would be possible without NCL supporting Cruise Critic. Thank you Jenny Galleto-Leventic : Group Service Coordinator and Steven Jacobsen: General Manager onboard our Jewel. I will be sending a Thank you letter to NCL Corporation as well. WELCOME BACK EVERYBODY and hope one day in the near future we will be on another cruise together. Jan Dykstra
  18. Does Jewel have the on-board app to text other people in your party, view your account, make reservations, etc.?
  19. This is my first trip report and I’ll be starting with the planning portion. We are a family of 4 including myself, wife, daughter age 16 and son age 18. This is our 2nd cruise together and both on NCL in the Haven. We had a very positive experience with NCL on our 1st cruise, so for us, we never considered any other cruise line. We loved our Haven experience and didn’t consider any other option. Our approach to this trip was that it was potentially our last together as a family and that we would probably never get to go to Alaska again. We would also be traveling during our 20th wedding anniversary. For us as a family, we wanted to see bears, glaciers, and bald eagles. Also, my son wanted to experience catching “big fish”. We knew that we wanted to do a land portion added on to the cruise and get a chance to see Denali. While we considered a DIY land tour, we decided against it. Itinerary Ship: Norwegian Jewel Room: Haven 2 bedroom family villa When: July 29th – August 5th 2019 with NCL 7 day Authentic Alaska cruisetour at back end Vancouver (embarkation) Inside Passage (cruising) Ketchikan (Anon Bear Watch via float plane) Juneau (Mendenhall glacier & St Therese Shrine marriage vow renewal) Skagway (White Pass Railway & Klondike Bicycle; Chilkoot Horseback Riding) Glacier Bay (cruising) Hubbard Glacier (cruising) Seward (begin land portion) Homer (2 nights: Salmon fishing, Homer Spit) Anchorage (1 night: Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center) Denali (2 nights: Whitewater rafting, Iditarod kennel, Tundra Wilderness tour) Fairbanks (1 night: Fairbanks city tour, Riverboat cruise) We originally booked this package ourselves on the NCL website a year in advance of the cruise. Soon afterwards, we realized that the bigbox chain that we are already members of offered TA services. Because we acted within 30 days of our reservation, we were able to simply transfer our reservation to the bigbox TA (SUPER easy) and will be getting a very large gift card as well as a $25 OBC. Additionally, by watching the prices for the cruise, we were able to catch a major price reduction prior to final payment which saved us a ton. I was shocked at how easy it was to get this applied as well. For us – working with the bigbox TA has been great and saved us a lot of cash. Another money saving tactic we discovered was utilizing the NCL credit card. By signing up for this and using it to pay off the cruise (as well as using the card to pay normal monthly bills), we will be getting a sizable OBC. Obviously, the trick is to ensure you pay this off every month as it does add a middle step in the process, but when you get in a habit it works great. Also, for us, airfare and extra hotels would be paid for using air miles and hotel points. I travel a lot for work and this is one of the few benefits that come with that. This would be important for us because we wanted to spend some extra time in Seattle and Vancouver. Pre-Cruise We will begin our adventure July 24th. As mentioned earlier, it was important to us to spend some time in Vancouver as well as a bit of time in Seattle. Our flight arrives in Seattle at approx. 2:30pm. We’ll be spending two nights in Seattle and then driving to Vancouver. Nothing really planned for the first night in Seattle as we figure everyone will be pretty exhausted from the time change and travel. Our only full day in Seattle we have plans to go to Pike’s market and to Smith Tower. Our hotel (The Sound by Hilton) is close to Pike’s market, so the rest of the time will probably just be exploring our surroundings and getting acclimated to the time change. Last morning in Seattle, we’ll head to the car rental facility and rent a car. Again, since I travel a lot, the car rental will be paid with points. We drive to Vancouver from there. Upon arrival in Vancouver, we will turn the car in as we feel that Vancouver will be relatively easily manageable by public transportation. We will be staying for 3 nights at The Hampton downtown. Our must do’s while in Vancouver include: Stanley Park and Capilano Suspension Bridge. Additionally, we’ve wanted to try Peaceful Restaurant since seeing it on Food Network. Planning resources This trip has been well over a year in the making. Planning a trip to Alaska is unlike any trip that we’ve planned in our lives. As so many people point out, you really need to do your homework. Each and every family has different likes and must see/do. Fortunately, there are just tons of resources that are available which have made the process enjoyable and a learning experience. Cruise Critic Forum – What a wealth of information. Ok, so the search tool doesn’t exactly get you what you are looking for…and there are quite a few snarky posts which you see every day….the fact is, CC is a great resource of individuals who share their thoughts and ideas. Plus, most of the planning resources listed here started as a CC post. Youtube – Literally every single shore excursion that is available has a youtube video (s) associated with it. We have watched hundreds of youtube videos in weeding out what was a good fit for our family and what wasn’t. www.tomsportguides.com – extremely detailed map information for Ketchikan and Skagway. With so little time at each port, it’s about maximizing your efficiency while there. https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2639556-2019-resources-for-planning-a-visit-to-alaska/ - Right here on CC….thank you to Mapleleaves for this post. All the city websites which are great resources plus so very much more. The Ultimate Alaska Road Map Book – I have a copy of this saved to my phone and computer and plan to use it to anticipate cool things to see during the land portion of the tour. Imagine this would be an invaluable source of information for a DIY tour. Phone – I know this sounds crazy….but you wouldn’t believe the knowledge gained from simply picking up the phone and calling direct the company that handles the shore excursions. Yeah – you’ll get some of the sales pitch stuff….so what. These folks are some of the nicest, most knowledgeable people and are very willing to talk to you about not only their specific item…but anything Alaska. Call them…you won’t be talking to a call center in another state….you’ll be talking to the guy who drives the boat…..flies the plane…conducts the tour. Seven days out from the start of this adventure and we absolutely cannot wait!
  20. If you are onboard the NCL Jewel northbound from Vancouver to Seward - can you describe how the weather has been ? I have heard it’s been warmer than usual.
  21. We just booked this inside room and realized there was an empty space next to it. Does anyone know what it is thats there? Is it a crew member elevator or something? We're worried it might be noisy now. Should we switch our room? There are other ones still available
  22. I've done a search and just want to double check that no one has done this yet. I keep looking.
  23. Hello, just a quick question. Looking over my eDocs and noticed it says boarding isn't until noon, but my slotted arrival time is 9:30-10:00 AM. Departure time is 4 PM. Is there any point to arriving that early? Standing around in a crowd for 2 hours doesn't sound fun :) Do you have to arrive in that earlier time slot to have any hope of getting a table at lunch? Thanks!
  24. Does the Jewel offer the Tracy Arm Fjord Glacier Explorer excursion, on the southbound trip?
  25. Anyone ever done the Jewel Hawaii/South Pacific? There are 13-14 day Spring and Fall sailings for 2020 and while it sounds amazing -- I can't find many reviews using the search. Like...what do you even do on the ship for four straight sea days? Any insight at all is greatly appreciated!!
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