Norwegian- which ship?

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#1
4 Posts
Joined Feb 2018
Hi all! We are looking for opinions of veteran Norwegian cruisers. We love the line and are looking into our next cruise April 2019. Our first cruise was eastern carribean on the Jewell and our second was also eastern carribean with different stops on the Epic.

Here is what we learned about our preferences: how nice and new the epic was was nice but we pretty much liked everything else about the jewell way better. We are small ship people I think. On the epic, it seemed like the service, food and entertainment, while still great, was just slightly lower quality simply because of the number of people on the ship. we also hated the fact that there was never deck chairs available to lay out on unless you get up super early and put your towel on one. This was never a problem on the jewell and we think its because everything was just less busy in general.

In keeping these things in mind, can anyone who has tried a lot of ncl ships recommend a specific ship for our next cruise? We have been looking at cruises out of LA because we have never been western carribean and porting out of US is ideal for us. We dont really want to go to all those same stops we have been to, Belize, Honduras, etc. but it has to be warm. We are open to anything really though, even been looking out of san juan.

Really what we look for is good service, good food and the ability to lay out and have less wait time in general at bars and pretty much everywhere we go. Also we noticed that the crowd was more fun out of Houston than Florida. We are a young married couple who are getting a break from young children and want to get away from other peoples children too. going out of Florida was like 50% families with kids and 50% older people.
#2
Indiana
448 Posts
Joined Aug 2015
Don't have a ship recommendation, but if you want to avoid families with kids then cruise during school, while avoiding the spring and fall breaks.
#3
EASTERN PA
1,922 Posts
Joined Nov 2013
If you need warm out of the USA you might was to check out the Panama Canal runs, usually the longer the cruise the less children. We did one on the Sun in April, were less than 10 kids on the cruise. Except for the Bliss, the canal ships are your kind of ships.
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#4
Arkansas
31,291 Posts
Joined Feb 2002
First off; without kids means Jan to the end of Feb,And mid April to the end of May or Sept to November. The longer the cruise the fewer number of kids. We did mid April last year on the Breakaway and even our daughter, who rarely complains and is in her mid 50s went nuts with all the kids.

The Panama canal trip is great, so is the New England but the timing isn't right for you.

We too love the smaller ships. The Sun is one of our favorites as well as the Jewel Class ships. The Star was ok, not our favorite.

The one thing that is never the best on any cruise line and it might be the worst on NCL is the crowded pool area with a lack of lounges. I know I wasn't much help but at least those are my ideas.
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#5
Illinois
6,792 Posts
Joined Jul 2010
I/we have cruised on the Jewel several times...mostly because it was going where we wanted to go, but, just as importantly, because we love the ship. We have cruised a couple of the mega ships, but really like the jewel class. We have done the Panama canal full transit on the Jewel, and it was very high on our favorites list. Another alternative is Pride of America in Hawaii. Smaller size ship, and the best way to get a taste of Hawaii.


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Sailing on NORWEGIAN JEWEL, 7 night Alaska northbound, July 23, 2018.
#6
Yorkshire, UK
7,406 Posts
Joined Aug 2009
I’ve been on: Jewel, Gem, Pearl, Jade, Spirit, Sun, star, Epic, Breakaway and Escape and some of these upto 6 times. First 4 almost identical, just the shop in a different place, if you like Jewel you will like those. I found Sun and Star a bit quiet for evening entertainment. I prefer the big ship entertainment such as howl at the moon etc but agree with you that the service seems slightly more involved on the Jewel class. We pick by itinerary mostly and sail other lines too.


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#7
4 Posts
Joined Feb 2018
Thanks for your opinions! I should have specified that we pretty much have an idea of when we want to go and where, I was just keeping it general because I didn't want that to influence the responses since some ships only go certain places. We are likely not going to be able to do longer than 7 or 8 days this time but someday we will definitely do that panama canal one, that sounds like a really cool trip! Right now we have been looking a lot at one on the Dawn. Anyone else been on that ship? The other one we are looking at is a similar size out of LA but I can't remember the name of it right now.
#8
San Diego, CA, USA
548 Posts
Joined Dec 2003
We been on the Dawn and enjoyed it but that was years ago - so really no current opinion. We are trying NCL again after so many years just to compare and see what a larger ship feels like (Getaway) and hubby wants to try the water slids, etc. However, it sounds like you might want to check out Celebrity for a cruise next year, unless you are unwilling to consider another cruise line. We have sailed 3 Celebrity cruises (just finished one on the Eclipse) and we love it. Less kiddos, excellent service, good to excellent food, etc. .I have never had a problem getting a lounge chair by the pool.
#9
481 Posts
Joined Jul 2012
Originally posted by Thesullivanster
Thanks for your opinions! I should have specified that we pretty much have an idea of when we want to go and where, I was just keeping it general because I didn't want that to influence the responses since some ships only go certain places. We are likely not going to be able to do longer than 7 or 8 days this time but someday we will definitely do that panama canal one, that sounds like a really cool trip! Right now we have been looking a lot at one on the Dawn. Anyone else been on that ship? The other one we are looking at is a similar size out of LA but I can't remember the name of it right now.
You may have people thinking LA = Louisiana vs Los Angeles! IF you are referring to
CRUISE PORTSEMBARKLos Angeles (California); Puerto Vallarta(Mexico); Mazatlan (Mexico); Cabo San Lucas (Mexico); DISEMBARKLos Angeles (California), you are referring to the STAR!
The Star is older and different from the Jewel, but, I think that it is a ship that you still might like, and the itinerary is a lot of fun... though differently than Western Caribbean!
On the other hand,
if you meant New Orleans, LA, that is the Pearl and is very much like the Jewel and is one of NCL's favored ships, but is currently doing Western Caribbean!
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#10
Albany, NY
1,437 Posts
Joined Jan 2012
Originally posted by Thesullivanster
Thanks for your opinions! I should have specified that we pretty much have an idea of when we want to go and where, I was just keeping it general because I didn't want that to influence the responses since some ships only go certain places. We are likely not going to be able to do longer than 7 or 8 days this time but someday we will definitely do that panama canal one, that sounds like a really cool trip! Right now we have been looking a lot at one on the Dawn. Anyone else been on that ship? The other one we are looking at is a similar size out of LA but I can't remember the name of it right now.
The Dawn went through dry dock in 2016, so it has some updates. We were on the Dawn in November (out of Puerto Rico) and have another trip scheduled on her next year -- again out of Puerto Rico. While I wouldn't be in any hurry to do a "standard ports" cruise on her, we loved the Southern itinerary and going out of Puerto Rico.

I definitely missed some aspects of the larger ships (it was first non-mega ship we had been on), but for a port-intensive cruise, it was fine. Overall, we didn't think our service was any better or worse than we've had on the other ships. I honestly think that has a lot to do with pure luck.

If you sail the Dawn out of Puerto Rico, I don't think you'll be disappointed.
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NCL Epic -- 1/18/14 -- Eastern Caribbean -- Haven 2-bedroom family villa
NCL Epic -- 3/1/15 -- Western Caribbean -- Haven 2-bedroom family villa
NCL Escape -- 2/20/16 -- Eastern Caribbean -- Haven 2-bedroom family villa

NCL Getaway -- 2/26/17 -- Western Caribbean -- Haven 2-bedroom family villa
NCL Dawn -- 11/12/17 -- Southern Caribbean -- Family suite with balcony
#11
Cape Cod
112 Posts
Joined Jan 2011
Originally posted by Thesullivanster
Hi all! We are looking for opinions of veteran Norwegian cruisers. We love the line and are looking into our next cruise April 2019. Our first cruise was eastern carribean on the Jewell and our second was also eastern carribean with different stops on the Epic.

Here is what we learned about our preferences: how nice and new the epic was was nice but we pretty much liked everything else about the jewell way better. We are small ship people I think. On the epic, it seemed like the service, food and entertainment, while still great, was just slightly lower quality simply because of the number of people on the ship. we also hated the fact that there was never deck chairs available to lay out on unless you get up super early and put your towel on one. This was never a problem on the jewell and we think its because everything was just less busy in general.

In keeping these things in mind, can anyone who has tried a lot of ncl ships recommend a specific ship for our next cruise? We have been looking at cruises out of LA because we have never been western carribean and porting out of US is ideal for us. We dont really want to go to all those same stops we have been to, Belize, Honduras, etc. but it has to be warm. We are open to anything really though, even been looking out of san juan.

Really what we look for is good service, good food and the ability to lay out and have less wait time in general at bars and pretty much everywhere we go. Also we noticed that the crowd was more fun out of Houston than Florida. We are a young married couple who are getting a break from young children and want to get away from other peoples children too. going out of Florida was like 50% families with kids and 50% older people.
If you're looking for a destination that is light on kids, I recommend Bermuda. It ports for three days in Bermuda so if you're ok with only one port, it's a great cruise. But, if you like various ports, a Bermuda cruise might not be for you. We cruised out of Boston on the Dawn and it was great. We really loved the ship. Our kids prefer the ships with the additional outdoor activities like the ropes course, rock wall, slides, etc. but if just the wife and I were cruising, we'd choose a smaller ship.
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Sailed USS John F. Kennedy (CV-67) '91-'94, East Coast of USA, Mediterranean Sea & Adriatic Sea
Sailed Sovereign of the Seas-Jul 2007, Florida & Bahamas
Sailed Norwegian Jewel-Feb 2011, Florida & Bahamas
Sailed Norwegian Epic-Feb 2013, Eastern Caribbean
Sailed Norwegian Epic-Feb 2014, Eastern Caribbean
Sailed Norwegian Dawn-Aug 2015, Bermuda
Sailed Crown Princess-Feb 2016, Mexican Riviera
Sailed Norwegian Breakaway-Feb 2017, Florida & Bahamas
Sailed Norwegian Getaway - Apr 2017, Easter Caribbean






#12
Alberta, Canada
92 Posts
Joined Oct 2013
We have sailed the Sun & Dawn as a couple (we’re 53) and the Getaway with our 21- & 23-year-old kids. The Sun was our first cruise so maybe we were just starry-eyed and oblivious to any shortcomings, but we loved it. The Getaway was my favorite because there is so much to do onboard. We just got off the Dawn yesterday, and I think because it sailed from Tampa, it was quite a mature crowd. We were the young ones on board! The entertainment reflected the demographics of the cruisers, and we found it a bit boring. There were a lot of slow-moving seniors onboard. There were, however, lots of deck chairs available (although not always right at the pool) and probably less than 20 teens/kids onboard. I would choose the Getaway again (did it in May, so not too many kids) as my first choice for a younger couple.


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#13
Rhode Island
43 Posts
Joined Jul 2009
We just got off the Dawn on a western Caribbean leaving out of Tampa and we enjoyed our cruise very much. The ship was clean and updated, very easy to navigate, and the crew was always smiling and very friendly. The entertainment was decent and for the most part there was always something on the menu that we wanted to have. Some of the amenities of a newer ship are missing such as huge playgrounds for children, waterslides etc,.but we did not miss them because we are not looking for that type of entertainment. Good luck with your decision.
#14
5,576 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
So far, Gem is my favorite (Spirit, Jewel, Breakaway). I love spinnakers lounge and the great outdoors, thermal spa (but not as good as the Breakaway, better than Jewel), perfect size. I think my kids preferred the Breakaway. We could always find lounge chairs on a deck or two above the pool.
#15
Michigan
283 Posts
Joined Apr 2013
Our favorite ships so far have been Pearl and Getaway. We have done two trips on each. We go mid-late January and find it’s less kids because it’s between winter and spring breaks for schools.

Maybe try whatever away ship is moving to New Orleans if it has an itinerary you like and then you won’t have to leave from Florida.


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NCL Epic 1/18 (Haven again!)
NCL Getaway 1/17 (first Haven suite)
NCL Escape 1/16
NCL Getaway 1/15 (aft balcony)
NCL Pearl 12/13 (first Aft cabin!)
NCL Pearl 12/12
Carnival Destiny 12/11
NCL Jewel 12/10
Norwegian Majesty 2/08
Carnival Imagination 1/05
Norwegian Norway 2/02
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#16
northwestern Pennsylvania
269 Posts
Joined Jan 2007
We did a 10-day partial transit of the Panama Canal on the Pearl a couple of years ago in early March. Hardly any children. Great crew, food and entertainment. Loved the ship. No complaints at all.
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barb65