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LONG review of the JEWEL 9/6/14 to 9/13/14


Hikini
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Since this is near the very end of the AK sailing season I don’t want to focus very much on the ports and itinerary but will touch on it lightly. This review will be more about NCL, the ship, the service, etc. and I will break those into sections.

 

I will not apologize for my loquaciousness. If you get tired of reading, just move on! :D

 

This was our 10th cruise on NCL and our 2nd time on the Jewel. To sum it up quickly (and get into more details in a few sentences) NCL did not disappoint. They lived up to our expectations once again, which is why we continue to cruise on this line and not look elsewhere. No, everything was not perfect, as it never is, but most of what I could complain about, I would actually consider nit-picking. I’ve been accused of being an NCL cheerleader, and I’ll accept that title with great pride. I tend to see the glass mostly full instead of half empty or even slightly empty. So in order to satisfy those who want me to be more critical, I had to look for things to complain about.

 

Here’s who we are: My parents are Dad, 88 and Mom, almost 80, with Dad having severe spinal stenosis. He gets around at home with a walker, but it’s too much walking and standing on a cruise so we always take him in a wheelchair. DH and I are middle aged (me) and upper middle aged (him.) As I said, this is our 10th cruise on NCL.

 

EMBARKATION

 

We were among the first to arrive at Pier 66 in Seattle at about 10:15AM. There was a short line at the building doors, which were still closed. We gave our luggage to a porter and went to stand in the short line. Giving our bags to the porter was the best money we spent that day as we had a little more luggage this time than is our normal. The sun was shining and it looked like a great day to be sailing away on a cruise ship! Woohoo!

 

The doors opened and we went through security and then onto the elevator to go upstairs to the VIP check-in. We’ve gone through this process a number of times before so we knew how it normally was, and assumed it would be the same this time. However, when we got upstairs where the NCL/Port of Seattle employees were directing folks, I mentioned VIP and the woman led us to a table nearby where they help people with disabilities – because she could see my DH pushing Dad in a wheelchair. I mentioned again that we were Priority and this same woman said that we could check in at this table and then go sit “over there” as she pointed to a row of chairs (about 50-75 chairs) and said that she would “come get us” when it was time to board. If I had never been through this I would have just shut up and gone along with her direction, but I didn’t really feel like going to sit in those chairs and just waiting. So I said, “Don’t we get to go to the VIP lounge?” Then she said, “Oh, you don’t have to, but if you want to you can.” I said, “Yes, that is what we’d like.” She seemed a tiny bit disgruntled but she had someone else come over and lead us to the VIP lounge.

 

I don’t feel that we are better than anyone else or that we had to have this VIP service, but I knew that our room keys and all of that would be in the VIP lounge unless they’d changed it since the last time we did this, not that many months ago. I also knew that in the VIP lounge there would be more comfortable chairs, more room to spread out, and food!

 

When we got into the VIP lounge the first person I spotted in the lounge that was empty, save for NCL employees, was concierge John D’Souza. Now I know he sees thousands of people a year, but he sure seemed to remember us. He did call me by name (but then he has a complete list of the passengers on board.) But with the way he greeted us, I have a feeling that he remembered us and that made a great way to start! He led us over to the desk to check in, and in less than 5 minutes we were back with John and he was talking to us about the upcoming cruise and what he’d been up to since the last time we saw him.

 

About 10-15 minutes or more went by and no more passengers had come into the VIP lounge to join us. John mentioned this and I told him our experience of being led to a table out in the main check-in area and being told that we could check-in there and then go sit in a certain section and then be led onto the ship when it was time to board. He said, “OH! No! That’s not right!” He got hold of one of the ladies and talked to her and before long other folks in suites starting pouring into the VIP lounge.

 

John was present every day in Moderno at breakfast and lunch, and was anxious to do whatever he could to make things work smoothly for everyone. He made one dinner reservation for us, but other than that we just chit-chatted with him whenever we saw him in Moderno or around the ship. He is our favorite concierge.

 

And before we knew it, we were leaving the VIP lounge, getting our embarkation pictures taken and walking out of the building doors into the nice sunshine, up the gangway and onto the ship! WOOHOO!

 

Music, happy employees, a big banner saying, “Welcome aboard the Norwegian Jewel”, balloons and flowers, and everything you could ask for to make you feel welcome and that this was the place you wanted to be right now!

 

We walked along deck 7 to the mid ship doors and then into the atrium and to the mid ship elevators where we were whisked up to the 13th floor to have lunch in Moderno. There was a small line up of folks also waiting to get into the restaurant. We’ve never had to wait before, but I figured that they were just busy seating all of the anxious folks who had just boarded along with us. But then men in coveralls starting coming out with their tool boxes, so I presumed that they had been fixing something.

 

Before long the four of us were being led to a table by the window in Moderno. For those who have sailed in suites before you would know that one of the suite perks is breakfast and lunch in Cagney’s. However, on the Jewel and any other Jewel class ship that has been recently refurbished, the breakfast and lunch for suite passengers is no longer in Cagney’s but in Moderno, which is across the hall from Cagney’s. The windows in Moderno overlook the pool deck on 12, as well as having some view out the port and starboard sides, as long as people on the jogging/walking track are not standing at the railing blocking your view.

 

As we were putting in our lunch order I saw one of the guys in coveralls come back in and he motioned to this counter and cupboard area that was on the side of the room where the breakfast buffet would be the next day. He said, “Wow – look at that – it’s only been in place about 30 minutes and it looks like it’s been there forever!” I looked at it and saw the counter had pitchers of water and iced tea, extra plates and silverware, ketchup bottles, etc. The counter/cupboard blended in so well with the décor that I would have never guessed that it had just been installed.

 

Moving on to the next segment:

 

SERVICE

 

We are big fans of NCL in part because of the excellent service we have always received. This cruise did not sway that opinion at all. We were treated so well by all staff that we encountered. I wish I could say the same for the passengers! Some people need to go to (or go back to) charm school.

 

From the wait staff, to the room stewards to the random staff we’d pass in hallways, lobbies, restaurants, lounges, etc – they were all friendly and did all they could to make it a nice vacation for the passengers.

 

As I said, my Dad is somewhat disabled with his spinal condition so he spends a lot of time in the suite. He loves being on the ship and is content to sit on the couch and look out the windows, be out on deck, or even laying on the bed watching TV. He just doesn’t get around the ship a lot, at his choice. So our room steward had to work around him most every day. Dad would get out of his way as much as possible, but I’m sure that it is easier for the stewards to clean while the folks are out of the room. Barrington was our room steward and he cleaned around Dad (and some of the rest of us at times) every day and did so without complaint, without attitude and with a smile. Often singing, humming or whistling while he worked.

 

OK, here is one place I can make a complaint, even though I hate to. I almost had to say that the service was too good; dumb as that sounds. One night in particular, DH and I had the evening to ourselves and decided to go to LeBistro (more about the food later.) Even though we dearly love my parents and travel with them a lot, it felt like a treat for the 2 of us to be on our own and have a date.

 

We got our favorite waitress in Le Bistro, Olivia Villaflores, and she was fantastic, as always. We expected her to come to the table a number of times, since after all, she was our waitress. What we didn’t expect (or want) were the other 3 people who came to our table 8 different times to ask how things were, how we were enjoying our cruise, etc. I just didn’t feel that it was appropriate to keep interrupting our conversation, over and over, to ask if we were enjoying the cruise, how could the service be improved, what would we change, etc. No, I didn’t say anything about my wishes that they’d leave us alone, and we answered their questions politely, but I just felt like they were trying too hard. If you want to ask us about that, don’t do it during a meal that we paid extra for. Thank you. :cool:

 

A member of our roll call put together a meet and greet, which NCL then arranged a meeting place of Cagney’s on our first full sea day. It was nice to meet all the folks (who showed up) in our roll call, put faces with the names and share a few laughs. The hotel director, Ignacio, made introductions to the different department heads and then we had a Q&A session. I’m always grateful that they see the importance of listening to their passengers. We are their bread and butter, so it’s good for them to pay attention to what the passengers have to say, good or bad. Ignacio said, “I do read Cruise Critic – every week!” He was an attentive HD and a very pleasant man.

 

THE SHIP

 

I saw what I would call “normal wear and tear” in some places, but overall thought the ship was in great condition. With more than 2,000 people embarking and disembarking each and every week, it would be impossible to not show some wear here and there. You see the crew always cleaning, washing, painting or scrubbing something all over the ship, seemingly 24 hours a day.

 

I have nothing against this ship, whatsoever, but my family still agrees that we love the Star the most out of the 5 NCL ships we’ve been on.

 

OUR SUITE

 

We were in a 2 bedroom penthouse suite on deck 11 – room #11024. We loved the room! There are some things that aren’t ideal, such as frosted glass along with clear glass on the bathroom door in the master suite, making it possible for someone to see you sitting on the toilet. We have traveled with my parents for many years and many trips all over the USA and other countries, as well as 10 cruises, but that doesn’t mean we’re comfortable being seen (or seeing them) on the toilet. We just learned to make the announcement, “I’m in the bathroom” if we went to use the toilet in the master bath. :eek:

 

Also, the tub has a large window out to the water as well as an almost floor length window out to the balcony. There is a sheer shade to pull down but you can still see through it. So, if one of us was in the tub we’d announce ahead of time for no one to go out onto the balcony. Not really a big deal, but something that I didn’t find ideal.

 

The bed in the master bedroom was super comfy, but it was also very big (I believe it was a king.) There was very little floor space leftover because the bed was so big, so it made it hard for my 88 year old Dad to get in and out on his side. (Hard, but not impossible.) I wished that the bed was one foot narrower (6 inches on either side) and that would have made a big difference. But the most important thing is that the bed was comfy.

 

The master bath has 2 sinks and a long counter with lots of lighting, so it was also a very nice space. A walk-in shower was next to the tub, with its own window to the world. Since this faced the outside of the ship there was no issue with anyone being able to see in. However, the shower door also had the strips of frosted glass along with clear glass, so someone could see in if they were in the vicinity.

 

There was a heavy, frosted glass door separating the master bedroom and bathroom from the living room area. This door needed to be locked at night, or a chair put in front of it, otherwise it would slide back and forth if the ship moved side to side at all, waking up whoever was in the master bedroom. We even propped a chair in front of it if we were all in the living room watching a movie because all of the sudden it would start sliding and then *clunk* when it got to the other side. It was as if a ghost was in the room with us!

 

We did close the doors to the bedrooms at night for privacy but also because my DH talks in his sleep – a lot - and it’s usually on the loud side. It can be a little strange, but I’ve learned to sleep through it most of the time after all these years!

 

There was so much storage in the master bed and bath – it was fantastic. DH and I shared the smaller bedroom and while we had plenty of room in that closet and drawer space for all of our things, it was nice to have our suitcases in the closet of the master.

 

The bed in the smaller bedroom was a pullout sofa bed, which when it’s made out is a double size and was very comfortable. On the first day as we checked in, the bed was a couch. But that night when it was made out into a bed, it stayed that way for the entire cruise, and that was fine because we like to take naps during some days.

 

The bathroom in the smaller bedroom was perfectly adequate with a toilet (not in an enclosure) and the sink and counter top, with shelves for all of our toiletry items. The walk-in shower had fantastic water pressure, which is a big deal to me. I don’t feel like I’m getting rinsed off if there is just a soft trickle of water, like you find in some hotels.

 

The bar area in our suite had the LaVazza espresso machine, a glass-fronted cabinet with wine, champagne and juice glasses, as well as espresso cups and coffee cups. The counter area had the ice bucket and drinking glasses and a little trap door for the garbage can below the counter. Also below the counter was a large cupboard with table settings and extra glasses, cups, silverware, salt & pepper, etc.

 

Under the espresso maker is the fridge that we asked to have emptied out, which it was when we got there. We like to bring our own pop along since we prefer Coke products. There were also a couple cartons of milk that we kept in there for coffee, etc.

 

There was a table with 4 chairs in the dining area, which was perfectly adequate for us to have a meal, to play games, to write something, to use laptops or anything else we wanted to use it for.

 

Across from that was a couch that 3 people could sit on, as well as 2 arm chairs and a coffee table which also housed the DVD player. Above that was the flat screen TV – maybe 25-27 inches – I’m not sure.

 

On the other side of the couch was the sliding glass door to the balcony. Instead of the usual deck chairs, these were a nice, tightly woven wicker that reclined. 2 chairs and 2 matching tables.

 

There are 4 TV’s in this suite. 1 in each bedroom, 1 in the living room and 1 over the tub in the master bath. All are flat screen and worked just fine. There were DVD players in the living room and in the master bedroom. We never did try the one in the master, but we used the DVD player in the living room quite a bit.

 

Our butler was Teresa Perez. We didn’t ask anything of her, such as dining en suite (which I really thought we would, as we have done in the past, but it just didn’t happen this time.) We had 3 bottles of sparkling wine in our room on the first day when we arrived and when Teresa saw by the end of the 2nd day that we hadn’t opened any of them yet she asked f we would like some orange juice for mimosas. I said yes, and she was back in just a few minutes with a pitcher of orange juice. She kept us stocked with orange juice the entire time. She also brought the daily hors d’euvres. This suite came with a doorbell, so she would ring the doorbell each afternoon (or anytime) she was bringing something for us, which included DVD’s. Every time the doorbell rang I expected my parents dog (which was at home in Seattle) to start barking!

 

Overall, we were extremely pleased with the suite.

 

ENTERTAINMENT

 

Having been on several NCL cruises, some of the time we feel like we’ve seen it all, when it comes to entertainment. This is one area where I can say ho-hum. I would like to see something new and different. We’ve seen Band on the Run several times, Oh What a Night several times, as well as the Cirque shows, so we didn’t attend all of the shows this time. We did attend the comedian Tim Kaminski’s shows, the comedy magician JP Parent’s shows as well as the welcome aboard show, the Russian aerialists show and BOTR. We enjoyed them all, especially JP, but as I said, I would like something new. Even most of JP’s acts and jokes were repeats. Funny and fun, yes, but not new.

 

We also went to the Newlywed/Not So Newlywed game, as well as the Liar’s Club. I was glad to hear some new and different questions in the Newlywed game, but the Liar’s Club had words that we’ve had on several other cruises. Time for some changes there!

 

I do recommend going to the shows, especially for those of you who have never been on NCL before.

 

Ben Kitchen was the Cruise Director. We’ve never had him before, but then, in 10 cruises with NCL we’ve never had the same CD twice! He was pleasant and we enjoyed him, but he wasn’t as funny or gregarious as some of the CD’s we’ve had and enjoyed more. But I have no complaints with him and he did his job well.

 

ITINERARY and PORT INFO

 

This itinerary had us leave Seattle on Saturday afternoon and arrive in Ketchikan on Monday at 7am. We actually arrived in Ketchikan closer to 6:15am. I have to say that our journey from Seattle to Ketchikan may have been the smoothest we have ever had. At times I wondered if we were even moving!

 

We have never seen such gorgeous weather as we experienced this time in Ketchikan – this is a city that has rain 300 days of the year but this time we had beautiful blue skies, white puffy clouds and not a drop of rain. Ketchikan is a great little city and I always recommend a stroll over to Creek Street.

 

The next day we went to Sawyer Glacier at the end of Tracy Arm. Once again the weather was fantastic and because there wasn’t much in the water, as far as ice floes, we were able to get closer to Sawyer Glacier than we’ve even been able to get before. It was great! The journey through Tracy Arm is so picturesque with the brilliant green of the c-o-l-d water, in contrast to the dark gray and brown of the looming cliffs on either side. Up in the hills you can see glacial ice long before we get to the glacier. We did see a few harbor seals along the way.

 

Then to Juneau, where we arrived about 1:30 – a little ahead of schedule. The Pearl was behind us as we came into the canal, arriving from Seattle where they departed on Sunday. We were anxious to see the Pearl because we had relatives on board her and were meeting up in Juneau to spend the day together.

 

Normally the Jewel arrives in Juneau early in the morning and docks at the AJ dock, but since this time the itinerary was slightly changed, we arrived in Juneau at the same time as the Pearl which meant there wasn’t room for both ships at the AJ dock at the same time. There were other ships in port, so our ship had to tender. This is not usual, and therefore the process isn’t as smooth and painless as possible. If you were priority status then you could get priority tender tickets. Otherwise you had to get a tender ticket and wait your turn. I don’t know how long the whole process took but I know it took a lot longer than if we’d have just been able to walk right off the ship on a gangway, as is the normal procedure in Juneau. I believe they called as high as 24 different groups for tendering, and usually called for 2-3 groups at a time.

 

We didn’t get priority tender tickets because our relatives on the Pearl wanted to get off the ship a little later, due to their need to get something to eat. So we didn’t mind waiting, but it just seemed like the tendering process took a very long time.

 

We took the tram to the top of Mt. Roberts and since it was such a nice day we had beautiful views as far as the eye could see. The tram tickets were $32 per adult.

 

When we returned to the ship from shore, (after spending a good sum of money in the Alaska Fudge store) we had to wait on board a tender for several minutes before they were ready to take us back. The smell of the diesel nearly made me sick. I’m not a pansy when it comes to smells normally, but this time it got to me. I was almost ready to get out of the tender and wait on the dock until they were ready to leave, but finally we took off.

 

Our day in Skagway was a nice day by Skagway standards. Not much sun (there rarely is) but there wasn’t rain, and not a lot of wind, so we were happy! It can be VERY windy in Skagway, so we felt pretty lucky. Our relatives on board the Pearl took the White Pass Yukon Railway train ride and said it was beautiful. We have done the trip a couple times in the past, so we chose not to do it again this time. One who went this time, who had also done it with us in the past said that there was a lot less snow up at the top than there has been in years past.

 

The day we were at sea all day as we were heading south towards Victoria we felt some motion of the ship, but over all we felt this was the smoothest cruise ever, to the point that my Dad was wishing we could feel the movement more!

 

Victoria day was another gorgeous day for weather and there were plenty of people out on the deck sunning themselves, using the hot tubs or the pools. Not normal for September on a cruise to Alaska, although this isn’t the first time we have been very lucky to have nice weather. We just know that we can’t count on it. Even in Alaska there were folks sunning themselves on the decks, it was so nice. We knew we had been blessed by the weather fairy.

 

FOOD

 

Oh boy, the food. The most hotly debated subject of all! I don’t consider myself or my family to be foodies, but we do know and appreciate good food. We have always been happy with the food on NCL. No, it’s not like a fine dinner in a 4-5 star restaurant, but we’ve always been able to find plenty (too much) to eat, and most of the time it is good to excellent in quality and taste.

 

We did not purchase the UDP plan because my parents don’t always know from day to day whether or not they will eat an evening meal. DH and I felt that it would just be easier to play things by ear. But we fully intend to get the UDP the next time we cruise without my parents.

 

Because we were in a suite we had the perk of dining in Moderno for breakfast and lunch every day. We did have breakfast there every day but only had lunch there twice. I do feel that the lunch menu is pretty limited and has been the same for a couple of years, so we decided to try some of the options in the MDR for lunch on the other days that we didn’t dine in Moderno for lunch. We have NO complaints with the food in Moderno; we just wanted a little more variety. But I have to say that the swordfish sandwich in Moderno, as well as the warm espresso chocolate brownie are SO yummy and they were what I ordered for lunch both times we ate in there, along with the shrimp cocktail. We love the breakfast menu in Moderno, and between the 4 of us throughout the cruise I’m sure we ordered everything on the menu at least once. (And for me the crab cakes benedict at least 4 tmes!)

 

We found the lunches in Tsar’s Palace to be very satisfying. Lots to choose from and everything we had we enjoyed.

 

For dinners we had 3 evenings in LeBistro, which were all fantastic. We had Olivia each time as our waitress (luck of the draw) and she was super! After our first meal there she remembered everything we ordered, what our names were and even when my Mom’s birthday was! I ordered the filet mignon 2 of the dinners and the Coq Au Vin the other. DH ordered the filet mignon all 3 times. We love it! But I found my new favorite dessert….I have always ordered Crème Brulee in LeBistro but this time I decided to try the Chocolate Napoleon and I ended up ordering it all 3 nights and dreaming about it the rest of the time! It was so delicious!

 

We had 2 dinners in Tsar’s Palace, one of them on the chocolate night. We were in there fairly late and our waiter offered to bring one of each item on the chocolate menu, which we accepted. Oh my! An easy winner for me was the Hazelnut Milk Chocolate bar. It isn’t very big but it is super dense, super rich and super delicious! Wow, would I love to have another one of those! The Hazelnut Pot de Crème was another favorite for all of us. The Chocolate Beetroot cake was OK but nothing special. The Opera Cake was good but the profiterole wasn’t real special. And that’s all I can remember right now. It’s hard for me to get beyond the Hazelnut Milk Chocolate Bar! NCL has my approval for taking away the chocolate buffet and adding this special chocolate night to the menu. It was a win-win in our opinions.

 

We went to Moderno one night for the Brazilian Steakhouse dinner. We have been to a few Brazilian Steakhouses on land, as well as Moderno on other NCL ships. We feel that the meat quality is just as good in Moderno as the land based Brazilian Steakhouses. My only complaint is that I don’t know when to quit and always leave feeling somewhat (or completely) miserably full!

 

We also went to O’Sheehan’s for one evening meal. It was the night they were serving prime rib. It was good but not super special. The corn on the cob was not good, but we are spoiled with fantastic Skagit Valley corn on the cob at home. We also had appetizers of chicken strips, wings and mozzarella sticks, which we all enjoyed. And dessert was good with 2 of us ordering the cheesecake brownie and one ordering the strawberry shortcake. The service was a step above the old Blue Lagoon and I liked the layout and surroundings. I always enjoyed the Blue Lagoon before, but I think this was another good move to replace the Blue Lagoon with O’Sheehan’s and expand the space and the menu.

We did venture through the buffet a few times, as my DH has 2 hollow legs. Even though Mom & Dad and I would feel totally stuffed after our meals, he would want to “just take a look at what’s in the buffet”. We’d take Mom & Dad back to the room and then go up one floor to the buffet. He would always get a little (or a lot) and top it off with at least one ice cream cone. (And this is a man who doesn’t gain weight in spite of all he eats. Not fair!!) The items that I tried from the buffet were very good, nice temperature, appealing and I had no complaints with the food. My complaints in the buffet are always that it is difficult to find tables. More often than not we would take the food back to the room to eat it, since we were only one floor below the buffet, and forward a little.

 

Overall, we had a fantastic time, yet again. Thanks to NCL for their continued great service, nice platinum perks, nice suite perks, nice ships and itineraries that suit our desires.

 

Looking forward to NCL cruise #11. :D

Edited by Hikini
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Enjoyed reading your review. We will be on the Jewel in October in a suite and looking forward to the cruise. We had a 2 bedroom suite last year on the Gem and also loved the room! It was so big! We also seen Band on the Run so many times and Oh What a Night. I think it's time for a change.;)

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Great review:D:D! Your experience mirrored our Jewel Cruise in August. When we boarded in Seattle, there were no porters to take our luggage, just a line to drop off at the x-ray machine. (We arrived a bit after noon.) We had a great time with the Cruise staff (Ben, Nadine (his wife), Ally, Kevin, Zach and Scott (who is now on the Dawn). Ben spent most of his time behind the scenes, but the rest were a lot of fun. Hopefully, Ally has come out of her shell a bit.

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Great review:D:D! Your experience mirrored our Jewel Cruise in August. When we boarded in Seattle, there were no porters to take our luggage, just a line to drop off at the x-ray machine. (We arrived a bit after noon.) We had a great time with the Cruise staff (Ben, Nadine (his wife), Ally, Kevin, Zach and Scott (who is now on the Dawn). Ben spent most of his time behind the scenes, but the rest were a lot of fun. Hopefully, Ally has come out of her shell a bit.

 

I don't remember an Ally. But Kevin and Zach were great. There was one who just joined the CD staff and her name started with A, but it wasn't Ally - I just can't remember it. Maybe Aldine? (sp?)

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Great review, Hikini! I enjoyed it tremendously! :)

You helped me to re-live our cruise on the Jewel in late May.

 

You would think by the end of the cruise season the terminal people would know about the VIP Lounge and escort the "suite" people to that area.

 

I'm excited to try "chocolate night" on our next cruise since the Chocoholic Buffet is always such a madhouse.

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Great review, Hikini! I enjoyed it tremendously! :)

You helped me to re-live our cruise on the Jewel in late May.

 

You would think by the end of the cruise season the terminal people would know about the VIP Lounge and escort the "suite" people to that area.

 

I'm excited to try "chocolate night" on our next cruise since the Chocoholic Buffet is always such a madhouse.

 

Yes, you would *think* they'd have it figured out by then! And the weird part was, I recognized that woman from several of our cruises - she's always there in the pier building, which made me think they were "trying" something new. John wasn't happy when he heard what I told him.

 

Chocolate night is very nice - I can't say how much I loved that Hazelnut Milk Chocolate bar!

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Enjoyed reading your review. We will be on the Jewel in October in a suite and looking forward to the cruise. We had a 2 bedroom suite last year on the Gem and also loved the room! It was so big! We also seen Band on the Run so many times and Oh What a Night. I think it's time for a change.;)

 

Yes for sure - a change is needed. I like going to the shows, but I'd like more of a variety from cruise to cruise and especially from year to year!

 

But to be fair, we have seen some really great acts over the years on NCL with world champion magicians, ventriloquists, hypnotists, impressionists, comedians and so on.

 

I may be in the minority here but I was really glad that the improv group (whose name is escaping me right now) wasn't on board our ship. I really did not enjoy them but they were on our last 4-5 cruises.

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Yes for sure - a change is needed. I like going to the shows, but I'd like more of a variety from cruise to cruise and especially from year to year!

 

But to be fair, we have seen some really great acts over the years on NCL with world champion magicians, ventriloquists, hypnotists, impressionists, comedians and so on.

 

I may be in the minority here but I was really glad that the improv group (whose name is escaping me right now) wasn't on board our ship. I really did not enjoy them but they were on our last 4-5 cruises.

 

Do you mean Second City? I seem them at least 5-6 times and it's always the same. It's supposed to be improv, but many of the lines are the same on each cruise we been on.

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Yes, you would *think* they'd have it figured out by then! And the weird part was, I recognized that woman from several of our cruises - she's always there in the pier building, which made me think they were "trying" something new. John wasn't happy when he heard what I told him.

 

Chocolate night is very nice - I can't say how much I loved that Hazelnut Milk Chocolate bar!

 

Do you remember which night it was on your cruise? The Hazelnut milk bar sounds yummy!:)

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Yes, you would *think* they'd have it figured out by then! And the weird part was, I recognized that woman from several of our cruises - she's always there in the pier building, which made me think they were "trying" something new. John wasn't happy when he heard what I told him.

 

Chocolate night is very nice - I can't say how much I loved that Hazelnut Milk Chocolate bar!

 

Thanks, Hikini! I've got the "Hazelnut Milk Chocolate Bar" on my list for our next cruise! ;)

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Thanks for the review...it was very good (not too long either)

We totally agree with you.... the shows, events SHOULD be changed(totally agree about Jokers wild) . Sometimes we know the line before the entertainment says it!! We love to cruise, but after so many cruises, we are finding the entertainment very repetitive. Even second city on the BA was almost identical to the Gem/Jewel.

Safe sailing

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Do you mean Second City? I seem them at least 5-6 times and it's always the same. It's supposed to be improv, but many of the lines are the same on each cruise we been on.

 

Yes, it is Second City. I didn't enjoy them very much - any of the groups we'd ever seen, which was on several cruises.

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Excellent, detailed review :) Though I may not be a sesquipedalian I tend to get my point across and enjoy every review. WE are going on the Jewel in Jan out of Houston. We have only been on one other Ncl ship. most of our travels have been Rcl and some upper end cruise lines. Can anyone advise if Ncl changes staff a couple times a year? On some other line and shills we have been on multi times we find experiences can vary vastly based on when you go. Thanks ;)

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Excellent, detailed review :) Though I may not be a sesquipedalian I tend to get my point across and enjoy every review. WE are going on the Jewel in Jan out of Houston. We have only been on one other Ncl ship. most of our travels have been Rcl and some upper end cruise lines. Can anyone advise if Ncl changes staff a couple times a year? On some other line and shills we have been on multi times we find experiences can vary vastly based on when you go. Thanks ;)

 

My DH is quite a talker and I'm a better listener. Although when I write, I tend to get on the wordy side. But I had to look up sesquipedalian. :D

 

Most of the NCL staff members have a 9-10 month contract and then they are off on their vacations. We have talked to some of them about their schedules and vacations and going to different ships, etc. Sometimes they request the same ship and NCL tries to fulfill that, but it's all based upon who is needed where and when.

 

We see a lot of repeat staff members, but not always on the same ship.

 

On the Star we had the same captain 2 cruises in a row. He told us that he was on for 10 weeks and then off for 10 weeks. He said, "When I go home to my wife, the first couple weeks is like a honeymoon. The middle part is just like normal married life, and towards the end, my wife is packing my bags and can't wait until I go back to the ship!" He was a real character.

 

My DH speaks Norwegian as a second language and he asked that same captain, "Why is it that it's Norwegian Cruise Lines, but most of the captains are from Sweden and none are from Norway?" The captain said, "Because Norwegian Cruise Lines wants it done right so they ask the Swedes!" :D

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Nice review, Hikini! Good to have met you and thanks again for all of your pre-cruise answers to so many of our questions. Happy Sailing! Such a lovely part of the country where you live - and thanks for the gorgeous 8 days of weather.

 

Thanks, Barbara! It was nice to meet you too, and thanks for setting up the M&G and all of your work involved with that. By the way, did you get anything extra from NCL for that? Sometimes people do, and sometimes they don't.

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Great review, Hikini!

Funny how we run into the same people during the cruise....but I never saw you since the M/G. :(

Wondering if anyone has a list of those who signed up but didn't show...just curious.

 

Question for you....have you ever sailed on the Dawn? I'm looking at the 14 night Canada/NewEngland cruise out of Boston for late September 2015.

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Great review, Hikini!

Funny how we run into the same people during the cruise....but I never saw you since the M/G. :(

Wondering if anyone has a list of those who signed up but didn't show...just curious.

 

Question for you....have you ever sailed on the Dawn? I'm looking at the 14 night Canada/NewEngland cruise out of Boston for late September 2015.

 

I ran into Rosemary and her husband several times, and I saw a few others (whose names escape me) around the ship, or in port, I saw Barbara a few times and Bobbi once. But not you or your daughter. Did you use your ice bucket? :D

 

I think Barbara could have the list of those who didn't show. I know there were a couple people there who showed up at the M&G but they didn't seem to talk to anyone and I never did get their names or find out their screen names, but I did see them around the ship a couple times.

 

We have not been on the Dawn but we have been on the Star which is a sister ship to the Dawn, and the Star is our favorite ship. I would love the cruise you are talking about! One thing about the Dawn and Star - they don't have the big Spinnaker Lounge forward because they remodeled that area (and more) to make several nice suites. The Spinnaker Lounge is at the back on deck 7, if I recall, and a lot of people complain that it is dark in there. Yes, it is dark; it is a lounge for shows at night. But there isn't a large lounge for daytime viewing such as the Spinnaker on the other ships. It's a trade off that didn't bother us, but then, we were in one of those beautiful suites on deck 12 where the Spinnaker used to be! :)

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Hikini,I want to thank you for your excellent review. After 30+cruises and 10 times to Alaska I must admit I rarely really read reviews much any more but since in about 7 weeks we will be returning to the Jewel in our favorite aft suite category I was thrilled to see your review. We were last on the Jewel out of NO this past March pre Dry Dock of many of the changes so was very interested to read your review. I have to admit it will be weird having Breakfast in the new Moderno rather than Cagney's. I will feel like we are going to the Star Bar :D Will need to remember to turn left rather than right ;) I agree with the entertainment getting a bit stale. I have been bragging for several years about how much better NCL is over HAL which is a line we also frequent but really wish they would update the shows. Band on The Run has been playing since my first NCL cruise in 2009 :eek: I do enjoy some of the lounge entertainment and that does tend to change more often. Thanks for helping me get excited for our return to the Jewel

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Hi Jane and Nancy - back to reality for us all, I guess. It was a fun cruise - and Nancy: please thank Jennifer for getting my bear pillow from my seat on the plane!

I didn't hear a thing from anyone on the ship about an amenity for the Meet and Greet - I had expected a note or something, but didn't receive any acknowledgement. Glad I did it, and I wasn't looking for anything in return. I think (from reading of other people's experiences) that often there is a specialty restaurant meal or wine in the cabin. We didn't need anything more to eat or drink, though - we were well taken care of in that regard on the Jewel.

I do have the list of people who signed up - I was happy with the 27 who did show up.

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Hikini,I want to thank you for your excellent review. After 30+cruises and 10 times to Alaska I must admit I rarely really read reviews much any more but since in about 7 weeks we will be returning to the Jewel in our favorite aft suite category I was thrilled to see your review. We were last on the Jewel out of NO this past March pre Dry Dock of many of the changes so was very interested to read your review. I have to admit it will be weird having Breakfast in the new Moderno rather than Cagney's. I will feel like we are going to the Star Bar :D Will need to remember to turn left rather than right ;) I agree with the entertainment getting a bit stale. I have been bragging for several years about how much better NCL is over HAL which is a line we also frequent but really wish they would update the shows. Band on The Run has been playing since my first NCL cruise in 2009 :eek: I do enjoy some of the lounge entertainment and that does tend to change more often. Thanks for helping me get excited for our return to the Jewel

 

It WAS weird to go to Moderno instead of Cagney's and we most often said Cagney's instead of Moderno when we were referring where we went for breakfasts or lunches. It's the same menu, same good service and seems like Cagney's in that sense. I do like the location, which is the remodeled Star Bar (which is no longer.) It has more of a view than Cagney's has.

 

It was also a bit strange not to have the Blue Lagoon, but I do like the enhancement of O'Sheehan's. All in all, another great cruise and the Jewel is in great shape. Enjoy!!

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  • 2 weeks later...
It WAS weird to go to Moderno instead of Cagney's and we most often said Cagney's instead of Moderno when we were referring where we went for breakfasts or lunches. It's the same menu, same good service and seems like Cagney's in that sense. I do like the location, which is the remodeled Star Bar (which is no longer.) It has more of a view than Cagney's has.

 

It was also a bit strange not to have the Blue Lagoon, but I do like the enhancement of O'Sheehan's. All in all, another great cruise and the Jewel is in great shape. Enjoy!!

 

Hi Hikini,

 

Were you in a Haven Suite? noticed you mentioned having breakfast and lunch in Moderno's vs. Cagney's...when we previously stayed in The Haven, were also able to enjoy breakfast and lunch in Cagney's...am looking at booking a last minute cruise on The Jewel {first cruise on this ship} and The Haven is sold out...from looking at the deck plans, your Suite appears as though it is not in The Haven...is that accurate? Looking at maps is not my strong suit :confused: so I wanted to make sure eating at Moderno's was in fact included when staying in a non-Haven Penthouse suite...

 

Thanks much for the info...

 

Have a great evening :)

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Hi Hikini,

 

Were you in a Haven Suite? noticed you mentioned having breakfast and lunch in Moderno's vs. Cagney's...when we previously stayed in The Haven, were also able to enjoy breakfast and lunch in Cagney's...am looking at booking a last minute cruise on The Jewel {first cruise on this ship} and The Haven is sold out...from looking at the deck plans, your Suite appears as though it is not in The Haven...is that accurate? Looking at maps is not my strong suit :confused: so I wanted to make sure eating at Moderno's was in fact included when staying in a non-Haven Penthouse suite...

 

Thanks much for the info...

 

Have a great evening :)

 

We were not in the Haven but we were in a full suite. 2 bedroom penthouse #11024. All suites (not mini suites) have access to Moderno on the Jewel for breakfast and lunch. Not just the Haven suites.

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