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fivecats1

Just off the Jewel! 11/26/06 Review

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Here is the review I have posted in the review forum. Overall an awesome cruise (Eastern Caribbean, 7 days), gave it a 5 out of 5 overall. If anyone is cruising soon and has any questions, feel free to ask!!!

 

Sorry this is so long, but hopefully this information is helpful to someone. Overall a great cruise! Comments are noted where there could be improvement, but overall a great ship and wonderful service and food!!! Highly recommended! I know I spend more time discussing the problem areas, but don’t take this as discouragement! NCL is really running a first class cruise, and anyone will have a great time on this ship!

 

Embarkation: Arrived with party of 6 at 10am (MIL & FIL in penthouse #9172, 2 newlywed friends in mini-suite #11632, and myself & DH in interior handicapped #11139). Stood in Lattitudes/Suite line. Special line did not include mini-suites, but was told newlyweds in mini-suite could stay in same line as us, as part of the party (nice benefit). After 5-10 minutes, started looking for wheelchair for FIL so he could sit down while waiting (line was not moving yet). Port security said to go to door down on right for wheelchairs. DH trudged down to door. Was told “no wheelchairs here”. Go see port security at main door (where he was before). Told him they said they had no chairs. Folks at door said “sit on a bench”. No benches empty to sit on. FIL still standing with cane. Saw NCL staff with wheelchair and occupant (disembarking passenger). NCL staff said to go to port security in center door as they have wheelchairs. Double checked with port security, “No, we do not have any wheelchairs. They have them at the door on the right”. Told them they did not. Port security silent. At this time, saw 2 NCL staff returning with empty wheelchairs from disembarking passengers. Newlywed wife ran after one, and I after the other. We were both told they could not bring the wheelchairs over. They had to take them “straight back” around the back of the building. We had to go to the door on the right. Explained predicament. NCL staff no help. FIL getting very tired at this point…..FINALLY one NCL staff member with empty wheelchair started going back through main port security door. We ran to him, “Romeo”, I think. Romeo says he has to ask port security. We say fine, they were trying to show us where to get a wheelchair anyhow. Romeo goes up to port security and they begin what looks like a heated conversation with the same port security folks who “supposedly” were trying to help us get a wheelchair shaking their head and Romeo trying to explain the passenger needs a place to sit down and needs the wheelchair. Finally Romeo wins and brings back the wheelchair. He says he can’t stay with us. Fine by us. FIL finally has wheelchair. Line starts moving around 10:45 and sign-up, etc, goes very fast. Sent to waiting room with chairs. DH and I walk up to security x-ray and are first ones through, apparently with the back-to-back cruisers when we were supposed to wait in chairs. Meanwhile, wheelchair fiasco continues behind us. MIL is told to “stop pushing the wheelchair, NCL’s insurance doesn’t cover this, so an NCL staffer will be over to push wheelchair”. MIL goes to pick up keycards from VIP area and leaves FIL in wheelchair. After 5 minutes or so FIL gets fed up and walks away from wheelchair with cane. Newlyweds watch in disbelief during next half hour as noone stops by or questions abandoned wheelchair. FIL, MIL and newlyweds sit in chairs until about 11:30 when they are allowed through. FIL stuck walking up long ramp and back to aft of boat without wheelchair. DH and I are meanwhile unpacking carryons in already made up room with attentive steward, who is apparently not puzzled that we are onboard so soon. Bar setup, anniversary package champagne and triple play chip packages arrive quickly. Chocolate-covered strawberries don’t show up until late at night. All baggage shows up by about 5pm for DH and I, and MIL and FIL. Newlyweds have no luggage and have to go to reception desk at about 8pm and inquire. Reception desk has all their luggage in back room (not “naughty room” for alcohol, but apparently a room where they put all the luggage they don’t know what to do with). Newlywed husband not happy. Tags were NCL printed tags affixed as required. They were “GTY”, no cabin # assigned, but he had written the cabin # they told him he would be in on the tags. Not sure why this caused so many problems getting the bags to him…..

 

Food: Food was AWESOME! Ate in main dining rooms several times for breakfast and a couple of times for dinner (both Tsar’s and Azura). Both excellent. Le Bistro (even with new menu) was our favorite and well worth the extra $10pp. New chocolate mousse is wonderful. Cagny’s steakhouse was also very good. Service and ambience outstanding. Chin Chin was OK. For the $10 extra, I don’t personally feel it’s worth it (and yes, I do love Chinese). This Chinese was just not that outstanding. Ate at Blue Lagoon for breakfast, again very good. Had tapas (but not dinner) at tapas bar – very good. Buffet was average. Breakfast was better than other meals here. Ate once for lunch, and also at poolside Bon Voyage party – salads were not very flavorful. Selection was good, and food was proper temperature, just not very flavorful. Main dining rooms were hands-down much better. Buffet also always really crowded. Had room service once from FIL and MIL’s butler (regular room service menu). Was OK, but not much selection (used butler to get fish and chips from Blue Lagoon also, and that was good).

 

Casino: Casino was OK, but some of the dealers were not very friendly, especially craps, based on reports from DH and newlywed husband. They did not really try to get folks excited about the games. Newlywed wife reported one roulette dealer (woman) was also rather rude and would not help her place bets on numbers she couldn’t reach (who could from the far end of the table??). Other roulette dealer (man) was very nice. Player’s club desk rarely attended – took until end of cruise to get my points transferred from the Sun to the Jewel. Played on “temp” card whole cruise as couldn’t find Player’s Club manager ever (I guess if I would have hung out at the casino more often or tried to search them out, I could have, but I was in there 6 or 7 times and only finally at the end of the cruise was the manager there).

 

Bingo: Bingo staff VERY friendly and helpful. Made the game a whole lot of fun! Expensive, but worth it for the fun (it is a vacation, after all….). Really got you into the games (casino staff should take pointers from Bingo staff….).

 

Crafts: Made “beaded bandanas” one day. Could not complete bandana in one session (most could not). Was told by craft host (they are on contract to NCL, we learned), that they had to stop the craft on time so other bar patrons could use bar. We asked if we could just all order drinks and keep going…..no such luck. She did offer to let us count out enough beads to finish on our own, or we could check it to her because the craft would “definitely be offered during the last 3 days of the cruise…usually every day”. So we checked them. Wasn’t offered again. Hopefully someone is enjoying MIL’s and my half-done bandanas….

 

Rooms: 11139 (Interior handicapped, aft section). VERY nice. HUGE!!! Bathroom was extremely accessible. Had a fold-down shower bench (no tub). No lips to roll over if you were in a wheelchair (I am not). Shower bench made showering VERY easy. AAA++ to NCL on the accessibility of this cabin. Cabin was huge, not much furniture (desk with TV, chair, stool, another desk and the wardrobe/drawer unit). Plenty of room to store luggage and move around in.

 

9172 (aft penthouse w/ balcony, handicapped). Again, a wonderful room. The problems noted in another review with the ramp on the balcony not allowing the chair to sit straight have been corrected. The ramp is now apparently removable – it was not in the stateroom when MIL and FIL checked in, and they did not add it (FIL uses cane). Bathroom just as good as in 11139 except had no shower bench. Not sure if you could ask one to be added like the ramp. Small table with 2 chairs, so not a lot of “dining” room, but this leaves more room to move around.

 

11632 (aft port side mini-suite w/balcony). Great room with balcony. Since this was not handicapped accessible, you had less room to move around, but otherwise great.

 

Room stewards all very attentive. Mini-suite and interior got towel animals 3 days; penthouse got them all days. Butler (Rogin) was just fabulous. Got afternoon snacks every day, and he made sure the ice was always full. Brought meals to FIL on days he stayed alone in cabin while we explored. Also helped FIL get wheelchair on very rocky sea day and took him up to dinner with us. Concierge (Alex) was outstanding. Gave priority to all 3 rooms, even our interior, since he knew we were all together. We all got VIP luggage tags, priority reservations for dinner, etc. He really went out of his way.

 

Medical Center: On second day, FIL fell in bar on rough seas and skinned part of his arm (bled a lot). Staff immediately helped, and got a wheelchair up to take him to the medical center. Medical center patched him up free of charge (because it happened on the ship – normally they do charge). Had him check back every 2 days. One day the wait was extraordinarily long. MIL reported about a 1 hour wait in line as other passengers and crewmembers finished getting help. Apparently they don’t call in the 2nd doctor when they get backed up…..In all took 2 hours for that visit. Staff very helpful and knowledgeable other than the fact that they appear understaffed, and have very limited hours (you can call them to your room 24 hours for an extra charge). They closed the door when they got too backed up.

 

Shows: Only went to Cirque Bijoux, which was outstanding. Apparently, this was the last performance for the Jean Ann Ryan company, so no more Cirque Bijoux…

 

Shop staff: Emeralds International staff a little pushy/sales oriented, but otherwise nice. Duty Free store personnel in main lobby very helpful and courteous.

 

Private Island: Really nice sand beach and coral cove. Not many fish unless you went out to the other cove by the lighthouse (2 mile walk). Beach was very crowded, but not so bad that you didn’t have a good time anyhow. If you wanted privacy, you could just go further out towards the lighthouse. Snorkel gear not really worth it, given the lack of fish (and the fact that the local “straw” market right on the beach was selling snorkel equip – minus the flippers – for $25 when snorkel rental was $29!!!). Would have liked to have seen jet ski rentals. Was really annoying to note that RCL private islands (right next to NCL island) had jet skis, so they could be seen zipping across the waves, with none available for NCL passengers.

 

Onboard future cruise booking: Was very fast – got in with no problem to see consultant. Answered all our questions and gave good suggestions on which cabin class to book. Very quick – only took 15 minutes.

 

CC get-together: All the officers showed up, got free snacks and juice. Very nice.

 

Did not use fitness center, spa or pool, and didn’t go on shore excursions, so can’t report on those.

 

In all, was a really awesome cruise, the issues noted above are areas NCL can improve on, but the cruise was so good otherwise, that I would definitely highly recommend it.

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Rooms: 11139 (Interior handicapped, aft section). VERY nice. HUGE!!! Bathroom was extremely accessible. Had a fold-down shower bench (no tub). No lips to roll over if you were in a wheelchair (I am not). Shower bench made showering VERY easy. AAA++ to NCL on the accessibility of this cabin. Cabin was huge, not much furniture (desk with TV, chair, stool, another desk and the wardrobe/drawer unit). Plenty of room to store luggage and move around in

Why were you booked in an accessible cabin when you are obviously able-bodied?

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Thanks so much for taking the time to write the review. Seems like they need to get their stuff together regarding wheelchairs but sounds like you had a wonderful time. I can't wait to go on the Jewel in February.

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I admire your succinct review! You reported on many things that I did not take part on the week before. Thanks for writing about it!

Coka

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Why were you booked in an accessible cabin when you are obviously able-bodied?

 

I am an amputee. I have real difficulty standing in a shower without a bench (can't shower with prosthesis on). So the bench was really great. Not everyone who has a significant disability is in a wheelchair.....

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Thanks so much for taking the time to write the review. Seems like they need to get their stuff together regarding wheelchairs but sounds like you had a wonderful time. I can't wait to go on the Jewel in February.

 

You are going to have a fabulous time!!! One thing I forgot to mention - we went to the mini-chocoholic buffet in the casino instead of the big one at the buffet (as I have heard that one is swamped). Sure, there's not a huge, flamboyant display in the casino, but there was noone in line, and it had a nice selection of about 5 or so cakes, and maybe 5 other platters of various chocolate stuff, plus some sandwiches, cheeses, etc. Much better than fighting crowds. I mean, how much chocolate cake does one person need, anyway.....(I know I'm setting myself up for replies with that one!).

 

One other thing to know is that if you have access to Alex (concierge), you don't necessarily have to make all your reservations the first day. We called him several times with late notice for 7pm-ish specialty restaurant reservations, and had NO PROBLEM getting in. Possibly because MIL and FIL had the penthouse......have heard they sometimes set aside tables for the penthouses/villas. That could have been what we experienced (or perhaps it was just the magic of Alex!!).

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Quick tip. DW has bad knees, having basically no cartilidge. She has a cane with a folding seat on it. It has been indispensible for standing in lines on our cruises. :)

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We were on the same cruise and agree with most of the details on this review about the food and the show. We same a ton of fish swimming all over on the private island and our friends saw sting rays, jelly fish and star fish, but they snorkeled.

 

We also ate at the sushi restaurant and the sushi chef William was AMAZING!!! $12.50 a person for all you can eat.

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Quick tip. DW has bad knees, having basically no cartilidge. She has a cane with a folding seat on it. It has been indispensible for standing in lines on our cruises. :)

 

That is an awesome idea! I think I have seen those. FIL just started using a cane a year ago, so I don't think they had thought to get one of those yet. I'll have to tell them to be on the lookout for one!

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We were on the same cruise and agree with most of the details on this review about the food and the show. We same a ton of fish swimming all over on the private island and our friends saw sting rays, jelly fish and star fish, but they snorkeled.

 

We also ate at the sushi restaurant and the sushi chef William was AMAZING!!! $12.50 a person for all you can eat.

 

Must have missed the fish....DH and the newlyweds did see a barracuda in the main cove....maybe because they went late in the day....possibly the fish made an escape...

 

We thought about the sushi place (DH and I LOVE sushi), but DH looked at fish in case and thought quality was not the best (he's REAL picky). I would still have liked to have gone for $12.50. Oh well, NEXT CRUISE!!!

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