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NCL Jewel Oct 20-27


Warm Breezes

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DH and I are just home today from our 25th anniversary cruise on NCL Jewel Oct 20-27. I noticed someone already posted the dailies for the cruises from NOLA so I will not bother trying to post those. This was DH and my 11th cruise, 1st without kids, 3rd on NCL, 2nd on Jewel (1st in 2007), and first from NOLA. You will find me doing a lot of comparisons to CCL since we just cruised on CCL Freedom for the 2nd time in August (1st in 2009).

Pre-cruise we stayed at the Crown Plaza next to the airport (free shuttle to the hotel). It is an older hotel but clean and a good breakfast. We took a taxi to the pier for $33 plus tip at 10:30 and arrived around 11:00. We had an easy embarkation and were in group A. We were onboard before 12:00 having lunch in the Garden Buffet.

 

Our rooms were ready a little after 1:00. We had a BD Balcony on the 8th floor. We also had a balcony on the 8th floor on CCL in August. NCL balcony room was much smaller. I also found myself missing the reclining chair that we had on our CCL balcony. The ones on NCL were just not as comfy. We pulled out of port around 4:30 with Carnival Conquest following us down the Mississippi. It was about an 8 hour trip down the Mississippi, a very unique experience for us.

We had the BBQ at the sail away (loved the BBQ chicken) got dessert from the buffet. I have to say that my opinion of NCL’s desserts has not changed from our first cruise on Jewel in 2007. They were very few hits (Blue Lagoons brownie sundae being one) and a lot of misses (especially cake type desserts). IMHO Carnival has NCL beat in the desserts are hands down. Having said that, my opinion of the buffet has not changed either. NCL beats CCL when it comes to buffet choices, layout, and overall food quality.

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Our first sea day (our 25th anniversary) we woke to a beautiful sunrise and jellyfish. 1000’s of them were in the water below our balcony. We also saw just how stupid people could be. In the morning we saw the first idiot straddling the railing of his balcony a couple floors up mid-ship. Later that afternoon there was a different idiot fully sitting on his railing with his legs toward the water. An officer on the bridge saw him and yelled at him to get off. This was the first time I have ever witnessed such idiocy on any of our cruises. This is how people “fall” off their balconies.

We enjoyed the day eating breakfast at Blue Lagoon (good), lunch in the buffet (great), and dinner at Moderno (excellent). I’m not a meat eater but DH is and he loved all the offerings. I did enjoy the salad bar and Brazilian cheese rolls…they reminded me of the ones my missionary Aunt made when they were home from Brazil. In the afternoon we went to the Latitudes party with plenty of drinks and appetizers. We won a drawing for a free dinner for 2 at La Cucina…nice anniversary gift from the NCL.

We ended our first day at the Band on the Run….and again my opinion has not changed from our first NCL cruise….NCL entertainment beats CCLs hands down. While CCL Freedom had some of the best entertainment we have seen on our CCL cruises, NCL just has better singers, dancers, choreographers, and even comedians. My DD, who is a competitive dancer, even mentioned when we were on the Freedom that the choreography was poor and after seeing what NCL is currently offering, I have to agree with her.

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Our first port day was at Cozumel. This was our 4th time at this port. Previously we had gone to Paradise Beach, Mr. Sanchos, and we took the Twister jet boat to Isla Pasion. This time we opted to take an island jeep tour through Island Marketing. The tour operator picked us up at the pier and took us to a meeting place where we met up with 1 other couple from the Carnival Elation who were doing the Dune Buggy tour us.

 

At the meeting place they took you out snorkeling. DH and I are not into snorkeling so we stayed behind in the restaurant having a few drinks while our tour buddies went out. When they returned they served us a lunch of chicken fajitas. I wasn’t that impressed with them but mostly because I don’t like the corn tortillas they were served on. We then took off on our tour. The tour guide offered to let DH or myself drive the jeep, but we wanted to sit back and enjoy the views so we let him have control. Our tour buddies followed behind us in their dune buggy. We went to a light house, a small Mayan ruin, a crocodile bridge, the beach, and place with some Tequila tasting.

 

Back on the ship we had dinner in the Azura MDR. While I wasn’t at all impressed with the MDR food on our first NCL cruise, I thought it had improved on our NCL Epic, almost to CCL levels. DH feels CCL has better MDR food. I thought the food on NCL Jewel was good but I found many of the choices, including the ones that remained the same every day, unappealing and a couple times we did not eat there because there was nothing that looked good to me on the menu. Overall, IMHO CCL still has the edge in the MDR when it comes to choices and taste. Afterward we went to the Comedian Show, he was very funny.

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Our 2nd port day was in Belize City, Belize. We did the Altun Ha Ruins tour through Island Marketing. The meeting place was a bar just outside the gates of the pier. We were in a group with one other couple and a family of four. This was our perfect tour for us to see the ruins. We climbed up the main Mayan temple and did some exploring and shopping.

 

Back on the ship we had lunch in the Blue Lagoon. As always the wings, fish and chips, and chocolate brownie sundae were delicious. We relaxed on our balcony…no need for the lido for us, visited the casino, and saw the comedian/magician show that night. He was pretty funny. Dinner that night was in buffet as nothing on the MDR menu looked appealing and we weren’t that hungry.

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Our 3rd port day was in Roatan Honduras. We had a private tour booked with Theris Dixon Tours. We had the option of doing as much or as little as we wanted with a $40 pp base charge. DH and I are not into snorkeling, swimming, ziplines, or monkeys. We wanted a in-depth island tour with a little shopping and that is exactly what Theris, herself, delivered to us. Theris and her family have lived in Roatan for generations so she knew her islands. We were shown many areas of the island that the ship tours wouldn’t take you to. This tour was one of the highlights of our cruise.

 

Back on the ship it was the Blue Lagoon again for lunch…love that place. We relaxed on the balcony, visited the casino, and saw the piano player that night. He was very good. Dinner was in the Azura MDR. Again the food was good but not great.

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Our 4th port day was in Costa Maya. It was pouring and windy when we got there. We were supposed to do an all inclusive beach day at Nohoch Kaythrough Island Marketing. We decided we were not going to even attempt that and just did a little shopping at the pier with our umbrellas. I sent an e-mail to Island Marketing telling them we did not go because of the inclement weather. I received an e-mail from them today saying they were refunding my deposit.

Back on the ship we had the buffet for lunch with a chocolate brownie sundae from Blue Lagoon for desert. We relaxed on our balcony, visited the casino, saw the Cirque show (excellent), and had our free dinner from La Cucina (Mama’s). I have to say we were not impressed with Mama’s when we sailed on the Jewel in 2007 and we were not impressed again. I find their pasta sauces to be a little bitter to my tastes.

That night we had the rockiest seas we have been on in our 11 cruises. When I was lying on the bed I got that feeling in my stomach like you get on the rocking boat at the amusement park. It’s a good thing we don’t get sea sick.

Our last sea day we just relaxed all day and caught up on the shows we missed during the week as they were replayed on the TV. We had lunch in the buffet and dinner in the Azura MDR. The crew talent show and farewell show were again great.

 

Some side notes….there were few children on this cruise. It was definitely an “older” cruise. We had a great time. We enjoyed the relaxation cruising provides us, the ports, and the entertainment. The food was hit or miss but we definitely found enough that we liked to keep us feed well. The service was overall excellent. Our room steward never introduced himself to us. Quite different from the room steward we had on Carnival who introduced himself to us and called us by name whenever he saw us. But the room was always clean and he did his job well. I think I will have the “Washy Washy” song going through my head for months to come. Nobody beats NCL when it comes to making sure you wash your hands.

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Debarkation was a slow process. The biggest hold up was the line for the taxi’s. There was a huge game going on in the Superdome with the Saints and the Bills and the taxi’s were running behind. We stayed post cruise 2 nights at the Homewood Suites. It was too early when we got there to check in so we had them store our luggage and followed the flocks of people walking past our hotel to the Superdome to take in some of the tailgating activities. We that afternoon and the next day walking to the French Quarter, Harrahs, River Walk, and the French Market checking out what New Orleans had to offer.

 

I will try to answer any questions you may have.

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Thanks for the review! We are cruising the same itinerary November 10. :)

 

Did you happen to get dinner menus? I would like to see what is in the dining rooms before deciding when to eat in the specialty restaurants.

 

Kathy

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Thanks for the review! We are cruising the same itinerary November 10. :)

 

Did you happen to get dinner menus? I would like to see what is in the dining rooms before deciding when to eat in the specialty restaurants.

 

Kathy

 

Sorry no. We just checked the menu every night before deciding where we wanted to go. We made reservations for Moderno for our anniversary but it seemed like most of the Specialty Restaurants had a lot of time to be reserved during the day if you decided what was on the MDR menu wasn't what you wanted. We did not have reservations for La Cucina when we went there and we walked right in.

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Warm breezes I was in NO for the Saints game you mentioned and there was a Brees in the dome that day to. I have to say my favorite photo was the welcome aboard sign WHO-DAT.

 

Thanks for the review and photos we will get our turn in 4 weeks.

 

Paul

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Warm breezes I was in NO for the Saints game you mentioned and there was a Brees in the dome that day to. I have to say my favorite photo was the welcome aboard sign WHO-DAT.

 

Thanks for the review and photos we will get our turn in 4 weeks.

 

Paul

 

Your welcome. We walking down Bourbon St. while the game was going on. Every time the Saints scored you could hear shouts up and down the whole street. We are Lions fans however and we got back to our room to see the ending of the Lions game. The station it was on switched to another game just as the Lions tied the score up at 30-30. DH had to call DS at home to find out what was happening.... I hope you enjoy your cruise as much as we enjoyed ours.

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Thanks so much for the review! A few questions:

 

About how long were the evening shows?

 

How do you see the MDR menus? Do you have to go to the restaurants and they're posted there?

 

First time cruiser on this cruise in December...can't wait!!

 

Thanks!!

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Thanks so much for the review! A few questions:

 

About how long were the evening shows? About an hour.

 

How do you see the MDR menus? Do you have to go to the restaurants and they're posted there? They are posted outside of the restaurant doors.

 

First time cruiser on this cruise in December...can't wait!!

 

Thanks!!

 

Have a great cruise!

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I really like how you wrote everything and copied and pasted it into several postings so it was all one right after the other without a lot of comments in between. Made for great continuity.

Also liked that you hit the high points ..I love the reviews with lots of detail, but sometimes it gets to be tooo much ;)

 

We are sailing In January..looking ff to experiencing all the Jewel and NOLA have to offer

 

Did you particpate in any of the entertainment offered in the smaller venues? The ballroom dancing and some of the tribute bands?

If so can you comment on them?

 

Thanks for your concise review :)

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Great review. Thank you for posting. We aren't going for another 13 months and I can't wait to go on our first cruise.

 

We are also "Michigan" folks...relocated to Austin a year ago. About once a month I see a "Michigan" license plate down here and it reminds me of home!

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I really like how you wrote everything and copied and pasted it into several postings so it was all one right after the other without a lot of comments in between. Made for great continuity.

Also liked that you hit the high points ..I love the reviews with lots of detail, but sometimes it gets to be tooo much ;)

 

We are sailing In January..looking ff to experiencing all the Jewel and NOLA have to offer

 

Did you particpate in any of the entertainment offered in the smaller venues? The ballroom dancing and some of the tribute bands?

If so can you comment on them?

 

Thanks for your concise review :)

We didn't specifically go to the small venues, but it seems there was always some live music around and we would stop every once in a while to have a drink and listen. The musicians we did listen too were very good. I couldn't tell you who we were listening to as we were just passing through. A lot of the shows that were in the Spinnaker Lounge would be replayed later on the TV. We found ourselves relaxing in our room with balcony door open and catching up on those types of shows in the privacy of our room. We didn't miss any of the Evening shows in the Stardust. All of them were excellent.

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