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Jewel 2/15-2/20--Review


judybooty

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:oWell I've been scared to write this review because I've seen some others get angry replies. We didn't have the best time aboard the Jewel; not a terrible time, but definitely not the best...

 

Here's the good & the bad:

 

Embarkation: We arrived at Port of Miami at around noon. It was chaos when we got there!! Mind you, I know none of this reflects on NCL and it's certainly not their fault, but POM was a nightmare. We waited in bumper to bumper traffic for a good 30 minutes before we were told that the parking garage right by our terminal was full. We had to park all the way down at the other end. We had quite a bit of carry on so we really didn't want to have to walk all that way. We asked 3 seperate POM employees if there was a parking shuttle or anything that takes you back to the other side and they all said no (we learned after the cruise that there is in fact a parking shuttle). We didn't see any signs for one where we exited the garage either. So we walked for 40 minutes in the Miami heat with all of our carry on. The actual embarkation process was a breeze!! By the time we actually got to the terminal we were one of the last ones to board. We passed right on through with our rum runners too.

 

We were extremely surprised when we got to our cabin and found a bottle of Merlot, chocolate covered strawberries and a note telling us to pick up our prepaid soda package stickers. We didn't order any of this and no one we know did either. When we asked Reception about it, they said it was from NCL. Either way, we enjoyed it and we felt it was to balance out the horrible Port of Miami scene:)

 

Life Boat Drill- I was so surprised at how easy they made this. On our last 2 cruises we had to stand outside in the sun wearing these smelly life jackets, but it was super easy on the Jewel. Just met at your little station for a quick announcement. However, after taking off my life jacket after the drill I noticed I was getting hives where it had touched me under my chin and on my chest. I just figured it was something they sanitize things with and they went away after a little while.

 

Cabin- We were in an inside cabin (apparently built for 4-there was a bunk bed that came down from the wall and a trundle under the bed. It was what was expected. Small..lol. The lay out made it kind of difficult to store our luggage and move around. I would say it was slightly smaller than our past cruise ships, but nicer in the fact that it was newer. The bathroom was laid out well and surprisingly big (well bigger). Our only issue was something in the bed gave me horrible hives. Well, we assume it was in the bed. I was getting huge hives all over my body whenever I'd been in the bed for any length of time. And once we thought it might be something in the bed I started to sleep with a long sleeve shirt, long pj pants and socks on my feet and hands and it went away. (the copious amounts of benadryl probably helped too).

 

Food- I really probably shouldn't review the food because I will admit- I'm a horribly picky eater. I thought it was really cool that they had a sandwich station in the Garden Cafe buffet. I didn't like how the choices of food didn't vary all that much in the buffet and main dining rooms. I also wish the buffet would have had more..I guess traditional(?) food?? My husband isn't THAT picky of an eater and also had a hard time finding things he liked. I pretty much lived off of salad and bananas. By about the 4th night we were sick of eating the same thing over and over again and decided to suck it up and pay for a specialty restaurant. The Freestyle Daily said that reservations are not required. Period. However, when we tried to eat at Mama's Italian restaurant or Tango's Tex-Mex (or whatever it was called), we were told that a reservation was required as they were all booked up. I think the Daily should at least mention that reservations are RECOMMENDED and that the restaurants can book up. We knew it probably would have been a long wait, but we didn't expect to be flat out denied.

 

Entertainment- I found a lot of the activities a lot of fun--like the "Jewel Idol" competition, the comic-Joe Yannity, the "newly wed, not so newly wed game", ect...The shows in the main theatre were okay. We've been on other cruises and know not to expect a broadway performance. The only thing that was downright painful to watch was "Band on the Run". It was a bit um, risque, to say the least. The other thing that was a little uncomfortable was when Joe Yannity performed in the Spinnaker Lounge. He kept getting on to people for talking and such and one lady got up and left while he was hassling her. It was odd. We really wanted to do the chocolate buffet, but by this point in the trip we had been banned from getting our own food in the buffet and the line was out the door. I didn't even want to attempt to get in that mess.

 

Service- The service was severely lacking. Some were better than others, but overall it wasn't good. And some crew members we encountered were downright rude. We never once even SAW our cabin steward. When we were having the issues with the hives and the bed we wanted to ask him if he could try changing the sheets or something, but we didn't even know who he was. We did see other cabin stewards in different sections greeting THEIR guests by name, but our's was MIA from day 1. We only got Freestyle Dailies and other room papers maybe twice on the whole cruise. Out of the 3 nights we ate in the dining room, all 3 nights we were brought something different than what we ordered. On one of those occassions we were asked if we just wanted what we were brought instead since it would take longer to cook a whole new entree. And while this question may SOUND helpful, the way she said it was completely rude. Probably one of the worst encounters we had was the first night on the ship, it was the first time I broke out all over my body in hives. This has never happened to me and I was so miserably itchy EVERYWHERE. We had fallen asleep in our cabin and woke up at around 11:30 at night, which is when I started itching. So we went to the reception area a) hoping the shops were still open to see if they had any calamine lotion or hydrocortisone and b) if the shops weren't open, hoping maybe the reception desk had SOMETHING. The man working the reception desk was completely rude to me. He acted like I was bothering him terribly by even speaking to him. I showed him the hives all over me and asked if he had any sort of hydrocortisone cream in packets or anything. He handed me neosporin. When I told him I don't think this will do anything, he told me I would have to pay for my medicine. That they do not have free handouts and that I would have to see the ship doctor. At this point I'm almost in tears because I'm so miserable and say I want to see the doctor then. He calls down to the medical center and tells them that I want to see them. When he recounts my situation to the nurse he is completely condescending and acts like I'm making a huge deal out of nothing. The nurse asks to speak to me and tells me that the doctor is only seeing emergencies right now and that it would be $120 to see him to get some benadryl or hydrocortisone cream. She's not much friendlier. She says if I can wait until tomorrow it'll only be like $78 or something. I ask her if there is just any bendryl or hydrocortisone cream that I can buy and she says no, that I have to pay to see the doctor before I can get any medicine. I didn't know what to do so I asked my husband what to do and the nurse apparently thought I was talking to her--she sighs loudly and says "ma'am it is up to you what you decide to do" and hangs up. I was so upset. We ended up just going back to the room and I took some dramamine so I could sleep. That morning we went to the shop and lo and behold they sold benadryl AND hydrocortisone cream in the shops. Total was $15 for both. Needless to say, the rest of the trip I was pretty doped up on Benadryl. Aside from that, we were nearly knocked over by crew members several times in the buffet area. The area is pretty packed, but coming from a customer service background, it just seems to me that they would let passengers through before barreling their way through. In another situation, I asked a weird question, and even prefaced that I was going to ask a weird question, and the server treated me like I was a complete idiot. (I asked if juice or anything was included with the soda package, but hey we didn't buy it so we didn't know! And I was sick of drinking soda or water!). There were lots of other situations where the service just sucked. Even something as small as SMILING. They seemed like they just hated their job and were ready to jump ship.

 

Disembarkation- Pretty easy. We did the express walk off option and were off the ship by 8:15. There was a scuffle between some older ladies and a crew member...Apparently the crew member had a bunch of people lining up outside when the line was inside and the outside line was made to get in the back of the inside line. Well these ladies weren't having that and got quite upset. I think they walked to the front of the line and we didn't see them walk back so I guess someone let them in.

 

 

Other random things-

 

*The deck chair situation is ridiculous. I swear you have to be out there by 5:30am to get a chair. People leave their stuff on the chairs for HOURS while they do and do who knows what. The only way we could get chairs is by snatching the ones people had left unattended. It was survival of the fittest..lol. Sorry if we took your's:) We seriously saw chairs left unattended for several hours. It was frustrating!!!

 

*The wavy couches in the Spinnaker Lounge are PERFECT for reading during the day. I think I fell asleep there a couple of times.

 

*We apparently had a norovirus issue. I think it was the 2nd or 3rd day we were cut off from the buffet and had to be served. Trust me, the passengers were just as inconvenienced as the servers that had to take on the extra work--so please don't take it out on us! They acted like it was so much work when you wanted more then one scoopful of something. After I noticed the buffet change to having the servers, I was completely paranoid about getting sick.

 

*The sanitizing spray. I don't know if it's just purell or what, but it was annoying. At first I wasn't sure what was causing the hives, so I stopped using the spray thinking it might have been that. (Yes, I washed my hands like an OCD maniac). The crew members would get so ticked off when I would decline the spray. One practically begged me to be sprayed. I know how to wash my hands and have never gotten sick on any previous cruise. And anyway, if it is Purell or an equal anti-bacterial gel, does that even do anything for VIRUSES?! And isn't over-using that stuff not good for you?? My husband and I both just stuck to washing our hands and neither of us got sick.

 

I think that about covers everything. A lot of what went wrong was out of NCL's hands, but a lot of it wasn't. I don't think our expectations were too high at all. The service was probably the worst thing about our trip (next to the hives of course) and while it didn't completely ruin the trip, it put a damper on a lot. Hopefully no one attacks me for this. I'm not trying to smear NCL or do anything negative. This is just my opinion on what happened on my vacation. We probably won't go on a cruise for awhile and stick to land vacations. I really missed the freedom of being able to eat what I wanted to eat and just go wherever. I started to feel trapped after a few days. Overall, I wasn't extremely satisfied with our vacation, but luckily I was too doped up on Benadryl to care most of the time. We made the best of it and I guess it was a week off of work:)

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Oh and I also wanted to add that we really liked the freestyle dining option. We never had to wait for a table in Azura Main Dining Room and it was great to have a table just for DH and I. We never ate at Tsar's because DH forgot to pack anything other than jeans and shorts, but the menu was the same so I don't think we missed anything.

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:oWell I've been scared to write this review because I've seen some others get angry replies. We didn't have the best time aboard the Jewel; not a terrible time, but definitely not the best...

 

Here's the good & the bad:

 

Embarkation: We arrived at Port of Miami at around noon. It was chaos when we got there!! Mind you, I know none of this reflects on NCL and it's certainly not their fault, but POM was a nightmare. We waited in bumper to bumper traffic for a good 30 minutes before we were told that the parking garage right by our terminal was full. We had to park all the way down at the other end. We had quite a bit of carry on so we really didn't want to have to walk all that way. We asked 3 seperate POM employees if there was a parking shuttle or anything that takes you back to the other side and they all said no (we learned after the cruise that there is in fact a parking shuttle). We didn't see any signs for one where we exited the garage either. So we walked for 40 minutes in the Miami heat with all of our carry on. The actual embarkation process was a breeze!! By the time we actually got to the terminal we were one of the last ones to board. We passed right on through with our rum runners too.

 

We were extremely surprised when we got to our cabin and found a bottle of Merlot, chocolate covered strawberries and a note telling us to pick up our prepaid soda package stickers. We didn't order any of this and no one we know did either. When we asked Reception about it, they said it was from NCL. Either way, we enjoyed it and we felt it was to balance out the horrible Port of Miami scene:)

 

Life Boat Drill- I was so surprised at how easy they made this. On our last 2 cruises we had to stand outside in the sun wearing these smelly life jackets, but it was super easy on the Jewel. Just met at your little station for a quick announcement. However, after taking off my life jacket after the drill I noticed I was getting hives where it had touched me under my chin and on my chest. I just figured it was something they sanitize things with and they went away after a little while.

 

Cabin- We were in an inside cabin (apparently built for 4-there was a bunk bed that came down from the wall and a trundle under the bed. It was what was expected. Small..lol. The lay out made it kind of difficult to store our luggage and move around. I would say it was slightly smaller than our past cruise ships, but nicer in the fact that it was newer. The bathroom was laid out well and surprisingly big (well bigger). Our only issue was something in the bed gave me horrible hives. Well, we assume it was in the bed. I was getting huge hives all over my body whenever I'd been in the bed for any length of time. And once we thought it might be something in the bed I started to sleep with a long sleeve shirt, long pj pants and socks on my feet and hands and it went away. (the copious amounts of benadryl probably helped too).

 

Food- I really probably shouldn't review the food because I will admit- I'm a horribly picky eater. I thought it was really cool that they had a sandwich station in the Garden Cafe buffet. I didn't like how the choices of food didn't vary all that much in the buffet and main dining rooms. I also wish the buffet would have had more..I guess traditional(?) food?? My husband isn't THAT picky of an eater and also had a hard time finding things he liked. I pretty much lived off of salad and bananas. By about the 4th night we were sick of eating the same thing over and over again and decided to suck it up and pay for a specialty restaurant. The Freestyle Daily said that reservations are not required. Period. However, when we tried to eat at Mama's Italian restaurant or Tango's Tex-Mex (or whatever it was called), we were told that a reservation was required as they were all booked up. I think the Daily should at least mention that reservations are RECOMMENDED and that the restaurants can book up. We knew it probably would have been a long wait, but we didn't expect to be flat out denied.

 

Entertainment- I found a lot of the activities a lot of fun--like the "Jewel Idol" competition, the comic-Joe Yannity, the "newly wed, not so newly wed game", ect...The shows in the main theatre were okay. We've been on other cruises and know not to expect a broadway performance. The only thing that was downright painful to watch was "Band on the Run". It was a bit um, risque, to say the least. The other thing that was a little uncomfortable was when Joe Yannity performed in the Spinnaker Lounge. He kept getting on to people for talking and such and one lady got up and left while he was hassling her. It was odd. We really wanted to do the chocolate buffet, but by this point in the trip we had been banned from getting our own food in the buffet and the line was out the door. I didn't even want to attempt to get in that mess.

 

Service- The service was severely lacking. Some were better than others, but overall it wasn't good. And some crew members we encountered were downright rude. We never once even SAW our cabin steward. When we were having the issues with the hives and the bed we wanted to ask him if he could try changing the sheets or something, but we didn't even know who he was. We did see other cabin stewards in different sections greeting THEIR guests by name, but our's was MIA from day 1. We only got Freestyle Dailies and other room papers maybe twice on the whole cruise. Out of the 3 nights we ate in the dining room, all 3 nights we were brought something different than what we ordered. On one of those occassions we were asked if we just wanted what we were brought instead since it would take longer to cook a whole new entree. And while this question may SOUND helpful, the way she said it was completely rude. Probably one of the worst encounters we had was the first night on the ship, it was the first time I broke out all over my body in hives. This has never happened to me and I was so miserably itchy EVERYWHERE. We had fallen asleep in our cabin and woke up at around 11:30 at night, which is when I started itching. So we went to the reception area a) hoping the shops were still open to see if they had any calamine lotion or hydrocortisone and b) if the shops weren't open, hoping maybe the reception desk had SOMETHING. The man working the reception desk was completely rude to me. He acted like I was bothering him terribly by even speaking to him. I showed him the hives all over me and asked if he had any sort of hydrocortisone cream in packets or anything. He handed me neosporin. When I told him I don't think this will do anything, he told me I would have to pay for my medicine. That they do not have free handouts and that I would have to see the ship doctor. At this point I'm almost in tears because I'm so miserable and say I want to see the doctor then. He calls down to the medical center and tells them that I want to see them. When he recounts my situation to the nurse he is completely condescending and acts like I'm making a huge deal out of nothing. The nurse asks to speak to me and tells me that the doctor is only seeing emergencies right now and that it would be $120 to see him to get some benadryl or hydrocortisone cream. She's not much friendlier. She says if I can wait until tomorrow it'll only be like $78 or something. I ask her if there is just any bendryl or hydrocortisone cream that I can buy and she says no, that I have to pay to see the doctor before I can get any medicine. I didn't know what to do so I asked my husband what to do and the nurse apparently thought I was talking to her--she sighs loudly and says "ma'am it is up to you what you decide to do" and hangs up. I was so upset. We ended up just going back to the room and I took some dramamine so I could sleep. That morning we went to the shop and lo and behold they sold benadryl AND hydrocortisone cream in the shops. Total was $15 for both. Needless to say, the rest of the trip I was pretty doped up on Benadryl. Aside from that, we were nearly knocked over by crew members several times in the buffet area. The area is pretty packed, but coming from a customer service background, it just seems to me that they would let passengers through before barreling their way through. In another situation, I asked a weird question, and even prefaced that I was going to ask a weird question, and the server treated me like I was a complete idiot. (I asked if juice or anything was included with the soda package, but hey we didn't buy it so we didn't know! And I was sick of drinking soda or water!). There were lots of other situations where the service just sucked. Even something as small as SMILING. They seemed like they just hated their job and were ready to jump ship.

 

Disembarkation- Pretty easy. We did the express walk off option and were off the ship by 8:15. There was a scuffle between some older ladies and a crew member...Apparently the crew member had a bunch of people lining up outside when the line was inside and the outside line was made to get in the back of the inside line. Well these ladies weren't having that and got quite upset. I think they walked to the front of the line and we didn't see them walk back so I guess someone let them in.

 

 

Other random things-

 

*The deck chair situation is ridiculous. I swear you have to be out there by 5:30am to get a chair. People leave their stuff on the chairs for HOURS while they do and do who knows what. The only way we could get chairs is by snatching the ones people had left unattended. It was survival of the fittest..lol. Sorry if we took your's:) We seriously saw chairs left unattended for several hours. It was frustrating!!!

 

*The wavy couches in the Spinnaker Lounge are PERFECT for reading during the day. I think I fell asleep there a couple of times.

 

*We apparently had a norovirus issue. I think it was the 2nd or 3rd day we were cut off from the buffet and had to be served. Trust me, the passengers were just as inconvenienced as the servers that had to take on the extra work--so please don't take it out on us! They acted like it was so much work when you wanted more then one scoopful of something. After I noticed the buffet change to having the servers, I was completely paranoid about getting sick.

 

*The sanitizing spray. I don't know if it's just purell or what, but it was annoying. At first I wasn't sure what was causing the hives, so I stopped using the spray thinking it might have been that. (Yes, I washed my hands like an OCD maniac). The crew members would get so ticked off when I would decline the spray. One practically begged me to be sprayed. I know how to wash my hands and have never gotten sick on any previous cruise. And anyway, if it is Purell or an equal anti-bacterial gel, does that even do anything for VIRUSES?! And isn't over-using that stuff not good for you?? My husband and I both just stuck to washing our hands and neither of us got sick.

 

I think that about covers everything. A lot of what went wrong was out of NCL's hands, but a lot of it wasn't. I don't think our expectations were too high at all. The service was probably the worst thing about our trip (next to the hives of course) and while it didn't completely ruin the trip, it put a damper on a lot. Hopefully no one attacks me for this. I'm not trying to smear NCL or do anything negative. This is just my opinion on what happened on my vacation. We probably won't go on a cruise for awhile and stick to land vacations. I really missed the freedom of being able to eat what I wanted to eat and just go wherever. I started to feel trapped after a few days. Overall, I wasn't extremely satisfied with our vacation, but luckily I was too doped up on Benadryl to care most of the time. We made the best of it and I guess it was a week off of work:)

Judy dont fell sorry for your review

there are many people that are having bad experiences on ncl is this is just another example.

Can I ask you how you would compare your carnival cruise? ive been on rccl and ncl and am thinking if trying carnival.

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I would say out of all 3 lines we've tried, RCCL was the best. But we can never seem to find another RCCL cruise that fits with our vacation time. Carnival was comparable to NCL. I would say the main dining room food was better on Carnival, but their buffet food was worse (brown lettuce, cold food..that sort of thing). But the service was tons better on the Carnival cruise compared to this cruise.

 

I've read lots of reviews of the Jewel and most were very positive in regards to service, but we just didn't see it in our time on the ship.

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We went on Carnival out of Port Canaveral (woo say that 5 times fast!) and it was my favorite Port!!!!! It was valet parking and from what I remember, decently priced as well. It was the smoothest parking situation we've faced yet!

 

 

Port of Miami was a freaking nightmare!!!!!!!!!! Thank God there really was a parking shuttle as we had all of our luggage with us after the cruise. We still didn't see signs for the shuttle, but as we were walking to the parking garage the shuttle honked at us and picked us up. We were forever thankful to that man!!!!

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Judy.. just wanted to thank you for taking the time to post your review. No one should flame you for posting your opinion. I am sorry things were not as good for you as I would have wanted them to be, but it seems to me like you, overall, are the type of person who can make the best of any situtation you are in.

 

I do have to agree with you about POM. Although we love sailing out of Miami because we usually spend a day or two in Ft. Lauderdale before the cruise, the actual POM if my LEAST favorite of all. You are very right in my opinion that I don't think they train the contract labor there at the POM very well.

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Judy, thanks for writing your review, and you definitely don't have to apologize! I hope you are feeling much better now, and I feel sad that your experience on the Jewel was pretty crappy, since she is one of my favorite ships.

 

I have never parked at POM but that is a rotten way to start a cruise! I'll be there on Monday, arriving by taxi or rental car shuttle, so I expect things to go okay, but I will be more observant of the overall operation this time.

 

The hives thing also sounds terrible, and the response you got from both the reception desk and the nurse was completely unacceptable. I hope you have names, so that when you feel up to it you can send NCL a letter outlining the situation. I had problem with NCL on a previous cruise, and I sent a letter when I returned. I was very pleased with the response I got, so I encourage you to let them know what took place.

 

Whatever you decide to do for your next vacation, I hope it goes much better for you! Thanks again for sharing your experience with us.

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Judy, I'm sorry you did not have a good time. Most of those things would have bothered me too. I hope the hives are better - Yikes! While your experience is not what I have experienced, I really appreciate that your review includes the details of what you did and and did not like so you won't get any criticism from me. My worst port experience has been at Miami as well. For us, embarkation was a breeze but at disembarkation, they let us off the ship before the luggage was ready and we had to wait in an extremely hot cage with no access to water or facilities for what seemed a very long time. People were fainting with no staff or employees to assist anyone. Didn't make much sense.

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Excellent, well balanced review Judy. Sorry about the problems you had. Hopefully, your next cruise, on whichever line you choose will be smoother. Cruises cost too much money to be disappointing.

 

CG

 

PS: Note to "others"...not one negative reply here.

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Thanks for posting about your experiences during your cruise. Under the best of circumstances, hives are no fun - let alone on a cruise:eek:. You certainly have my sympathy. I've been known to break out in hives from time to time and now always travel with a first aid kit complete with Benadryl and Hydrocortisone cream.

 

I do hope that you'll try NCL again and that your next cruise experience will be a great one!

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Wow, I am sorry to hear about your experiences on the Jewell. Did you figure out why you had hives? You didn't see any evidence of insects did you? I hope that you checked for bed bugs. So many hotels are affected as well as certain cruise cabins. Once you get them they are so difficult to get rid of. I thought we had a somewhat disappointing experience on our Gem cruise, but nothing like you had. Hope you have a much better experience the next time.

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:oWell I've been scared to write this review because I've seen some others get angry replies. We didn't have the best time aboard the Jewel; not a terrible time, but definitely not the best...

 

Here's the good & the bad:

 

Embarkation: We arrived at Port of Miami at around noon. It was chaos when we got there!! Mind you, I know none of this reflects on NCL and it's certainly not their fault, but POM was a nightmare. We waited in bumper to bumper traffic for a good 30 minutes before we were told that the parking garage right by our terminal was full. We had to park all the way down at the other end. We had quite a bit of carry on so we really didn't want to have to walk all that way. We asked 3 seperate POM employees if there was a parking shuttle or anything that takes you back to the other side and they all said no (we learned after the cruise that there is in fact a parking shuttle). We didn't see any signs for one where we exited the garage either. So we walked for 40 minutes in the Miami heat with all of our carry on. The actual embarkation process was a breeze!! By the time we actually got to the terminal we were one of the last ones to board. We passed right on through with our rum runners too.

 

We were extremely surprised when we got to our cabin and found a bottle of Merlot, chocolate covered strawberries and a note telling us to pick up our prepaid soda package stickers. We didn't order any of this and no one we know did either. When we asked Reception about it, they said it was from NCL. Either way, we enjoyed it and we felt it was to balance out the horrible Port of Miami scene:)

 

Life Boat Drill- I was so surprised at how easy they made this. On our last 2 cruises we had to stand outside in the sun wearing these smelly life jackets, but it was super easy on the Jewel. Just met at your little station for a quick announcement. However, after taking off my life jacket after the drill I noticed I was getting hives where it had touched me under my chin and on my chest. I just figured it was something they sanitize things with and they went away after a little while.

 

Cabin- We were in an inside cabin (apparently built for 4-there was a bunk bed that came down from the wall and a trundle under the bed. It was what was expected. Small..lol. The lay out made it kind of difficult to store our luggage and move around. I would say it was slightly smaller than our past cruise ships, but nicer in the fact that it was newer. The bathroom was laid out well and surprisingly big (well bigger). Our only issue was something in the bed gave me horrible hives. Well, we assume it was in the bed. I was getting huge hives all over my body whenever I'd been in the bed for any length of time. And once we thought it might be something in the bed I started to sleep with a long sleeve shirt, long pj pants and socks on my feet and hands and it went away. (the copious amounts of benadryl probably helped too).

 

Food- I really probably shouldn't review the food because I will admit- I'm a horribly picky eater. I thought it was really cool that they had a sandwich station in the Garden Cafe buffet. I didn't like how the choices of food didn't vary all that much in the buffet and main dining rooms. I also wish the buffet would have had more..I guess traditional(?) food?? My husband isn't THAT picky of an eater and also had a hard time finding things he liked. I pretty much lived off of salad and bananas. By about the 4th night we were sick of eating the same thing over and over again and decided to suck it up and pay for a specialty restaurant. The Freestyle Daily said that reservations are not required. Period. However, when we tried to eat at Mama's Italian restaurant or Tango's Tex-Mex (or whatever it was called), we were told that a reservation was required as they were all booked up. I think the Daily should at least mention that reservations are RECOMMENDED and that the restaurants can book up. We knew it probably would have been a long wait, but we didn't expect to be flat out denied.

 

Entertainment- I found a lot of the activities a lot of fun--like the "Jewel Idol" competition, the comic-Joe Yannity, the "newly wed, not so newly wed game", ect...The shows in the main theatre were okay. We've been on other cruises and know not to expect a broadway performance. The only thing that was downright painful to watch was "Band on the Run". It was a bit um, risque, to say the least. The other thing that was a little uncomfortable was when Joe Yannity performed in the Spinnaker Lounge. He kept getting on to people for talking and such and one lady got up and left while he was hassling her. It was odd. We really wanted to do the chocolate buffet, but by this point in the trip we had been banned from getting our own food in the buffet and the line was out the door. I didn't even want to attempt to get in that mess.

 

Service- The service was severely lacking. Some were better than others, but overall it wasn't good. And some crew members we encountered were downright rude. We never once even SAW our cabin steward. When we were having the issues with the hives and the bed we wanted to ask him if he could try changing the sheets or something, but we didn't even know who he was. We did see other cabin stewards in different sections greeting THEIR guests by name, but our's was MIA from day 1. We only got Freestyle Dailies and other room papers maybe twice on the whole cruise. Out of the 3 nights we ate in the dining room, all 3 nights we were brought something different than what we ordered. On one of those occassions we were asked if we just wanted what we were brought instead since it would take longer to cook a whole new entree. And while this question may SOUND helpful, the way she said it was completely rude. Probably one of the worst encounters we had was the first night on the ship, it was the first time I broke out all over my body in hives. This has never happened to me and I was so miserably itchy EVERYWHERE. We had fallen asleep in our cabin and woke up at around 11:30 at night, which is when I started itching. So we went to the reception area a) hoping the shops were still open to see if they had any calamine lotion or hydrocortisone and b) if the shops weren't open, hoping maybe the reception desk had SOMETHING. The man working the reception desk was completely rude to me. He acted like I was bothering him terribly by even speaking to him. I showed him the hives all over me and asked if he had any sort of hydrocortisone cream in packets or anything. He handed me neosporin. When I told him I don't think this will do anything, he told me I would have to pay for my medicine. That they do not have free handouts and that I would have to see the ship doctor. At this point I'm almost in tears because I'm so miserable and say I want to see the doctor then. He calls down to the medical center and tells them that I want to see them. When he recounts my situation to the nurse he is completely condescending and acts like I'm making a huge deal out of nothing. The nurse asks to speak to me and tells me that the doctor is only seeing emergencies right now and that it would be $120 to see him to get some benadryl or hydrocortisone cream. She's not much friendlier. She says if I can wait until tomorrow it'll only be like $78 or something. I ask her if there is just any bendryl or hydrocortisone cream that I can buy and she says no, that I have to pay to see the doctor before I can get any medicine. I didn't know what to do so I asked my husband what to do and the nurse apparently thought I was talking to her--she sighs loudly and says "ma'am it is up to you what you decide to do" and hangs up. I was so upset. We ended up just going back to the room and I took some dramamine so I could sleep. That morning we went to the shop and lo and behold they sold benadryl AND hydrocortisone cream in the shops. Total was $15 for both. Needless to say, the rest of the trip I was pretty doped up on Benadryl. Aside from that, we were nearly knocked over by crew members several times in the buffet area. The area is pretty packed, but coming from a customer service background, it just seems to me that they would let passengers through before barreling their way through. In another situation, I asked a weird question, and even prefaced that I was going to ask a weird question, and the server treated me like I was a complete idiot. (I asked if juice or anything was included with the soda package, but hey we didn't buy it so we didn't know! And I was sick of drinking soda or water!). There were lots of other situations where the service just sucked. Even something as small as SMILING. They seemed like they just hated their job and were ready to jump ship.

 

Disembarkation- Pretty easy. We did the express walk off option and were off the ship by 8:15. There was a scuffle between some older ladies and a crew member...Apparently the crew member had a bunch of people lining up outside when the line was inside and the outside line was made to get in the back of the inside line. Well these ladies weren't having that and got quite upset. I think they walked to the front of the line and we didn't see them walk back so I guess someone let them in.

 

 

Other random things-

 

*The deck chair situation is ridiculous. I swear you have to be out there by 5:30am to get a chair. People leave their stuff on the chairs for HOURS while they do and do who knows what. The only way we could get chairs is by snatching the ones people had left unattended. It was survival of the fittest..lol. Sorry if we took your's:) We seriously saw chairs left unattended for several hours. It was frustrating!!!

 

*The wavy couches in the Spinnaker Lounge are PERFECT for reading during the day. I think I fell asleep there a couple of times.

 

*We apparently had a norovirus issue. I think it was the 2nd or 3rd day we were cut off from the buffet and had to be served. Trust me, the passengers were just as inconvenienced as the servers that had to take on the extra work--so please don't take it out on us! They acted like it was so much work when you wanted more then one scoopful of something. After I noticed the buffet change to having the servers, I was completely paranoid about getting sick.

 

*The sanitizing spray. I don't know if it's just purell or what, but it was annoying. At first I wasn't sure what was causing the hives, so I stopped using the spray thinking it might have been that. (Yes, I washed my hands like an OCD maniac). The crew members would get so ticked off when I would decline the spray. One practically begged me to be sprayed. I know how to wash my hands and have never gotten sick on any previous cruise. And anyway, if it is Purell or an equal anti-bacterial gel, does that even do anything for VIRUSES?! And isn't over-using that stuff not good for you?? My husband and I both just stuck to washing our hands and neither of us got sick.

 

I think that about covers everything. A lot of what went wrong was out of NCL's hands, but a lot of it wasn't. I don't think our expectations were too high at all. The service was probably the worst thing about our trip (next to the hives of course) and while it didn't completely ruin the trip, it put a damper on a lot. Hopefully no one attacks me for this. I'm not trying to smear NCL or do anything negative. This is just my opinion on what happened on my vacation. We probably won't go on a cruise for awhile and stick to land vacations. I really missed the freedom of being able to eat what I wanted to eat and just go wherever. I started to feel trapped after a few days. Overall, I wasn't extremely satisfied with our vacation, but luckily I was too doped up on Benadryl to care most of the time. We made the best of it and I guess it was a week off of work:)

I am sorry it wasn't the best it could have been, I will comment on a couple of things: we have been on too many cruises, both NCL and other lines in the past 5 years where the cabin steward has not introduced himself/or herself..Not that it always makes a difference, but I agree, it should not happen..

 

Chair huggers on deck, again, we have always seen this, pain in the ass..

 

If there was even a hint of noro, yes, it would have made everyone's life a little less than pleasant; I agree, no one should take it out on the passengers, but the crew does have a really hard time when this occurs. I have read comments by passengers, that make me want to scream. they feel the cruise lines have no right making thiers lives unhappy.

 

I hope no one takes you apart for your comments, you told it as you saw it and that is what these boards are all about. YOu may be right, if you did feel trapped after a couple of days a land vacation may be a better experience than a cruise for you, certainly right now.

 

Nita

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Bed bugs crossed my mind, but we never really checked for them. My husband didn't break out at all so I'm thinking that it was an allergic reaction to the detergent or something they use to sanitize. The only reason I'm thinking it was something used to sanitize is because I got hives on my neck and chest after taking off the life jacket. But then again, who knows if they even bother with sanitizing those! I've only gotten hives one other time about 11 years ago from cheap laundry detergent (Purex). But they were nowhere near the magnitude that I had on this cruise. More like a rash. I wanted to take photos to document them but DH wouldn't let me..lol.

 

For instance I was wearing Sea Bands on that first day. When I woke up that first evening around 11:30 and took off the sea bands, I had a hive on each wrist in the exact shape of the sea band. Like one huuuuuuge hive encircling my entire wrist. Hopefully this isn't TMI, but I had fallen asleep in just a tee shirt and I have hives all over my backside in the exact shape of my underwear. I had them all up and down my legs and on my stomach and back. HUUUUUUUGE hives. They were unlike anything I have ever seen.

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Wow lucky you to get all those extras! I'm sorry to hear about the hives that is no fun for vacation. Jeez they wanted a lot ofmoney just to see the doctor! :eek:

 

Chair hogs! lol I would have taken the stuff off too!

 

ship doctors are out of line, but at least, if you have travel insurance plus your own most, if not all will be covered...

 

I had to see a doctor on HAL a few years ago, $179.00 for the office call and a 5 day supply of anti-biotics. the worst part, the meds we gave me were for a different kind of infection. Though they didn't make me sick or anything, they didn't work either. Last year DH had to see a doctor on Princess: I don't remember that bill, but it was pretty high, nothing that could be done, so they gave him some Alive...

 

Nita

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I am sorry it wasn't the best it could have been, I will comment on a couple of things: we have been on too many cruises, both NCL and other lines in the past 5 years where the cabin steward has not introduced himself/or herself..Not that it always makes a difference, but I agree, it should not happen..

 

Chair huggers on deck, again, we have always seen this, pain in the ass..

 

If there was even a hint of noro, yes, it would have made everyone's life a little less than pleasant; I agree, no one should take it out on the passengers, but the crew does have a really hard time when this occurs. I have read comments by passengers, that make me want to scream. they feel the cruise lines have no right making thiers lives unhappy.

 

I hope no one takes you apart for your comments, you told it as you saw it and that is what these boards are all about. YOu may be right, if you did feel trapped after a couple of days a land vacation may be a better experience than a cruise for you, certainly right now.

 

Nita

 

Nita, I totally agree that life must be rough for the crew that had to serve all those people. I know I for one was behind a couple who insisted on precisely 8 cucumbers and 24 mushrooms for his salad. I nearly killed those people. But some of the crew made it obvious how discontent they were with the new lay out. All I can say is we didn't like it anymore than they did...It was really a pain all around. But I also completely understand why they did it. I felt safer with them handing out the food. I'm a bit of a germ-a-phobe when it comes to buffets in the first place..lol.

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We did a 15-night trans-Atlantic on Jewel and when someone tries to tell me that all they could find to eat in the buffet is bananas and salad I just roll my eyes and hit my internal "ignore" button. There is pasta, Indian food, sandwiches of every shape, size, and filling, carved meat stations, hot entrees, wide choice of vegetables, pizza, burgers, hot dogs, made-to-order stir fries, and on and on and on.

 

Sounds like some people want the Old Country Buffet at sea. Ugh.

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We did a 15-night trans-Atlantic on Jewel and when someone tries to tell me that all they could find to eat in the buffet is bananas and salad I just roll my eyes and hit my internal "ignore" button. There is pasta, Indian food, sandwiches of every shape, size, and filling, carved meat stations, hot entrees, wide choice of vegetables, pizza, burgers, hot dogs, made-to-order stir fries, and on and on and on.

 

Sounds like some people want the Old Country Buffet at sea. Ugh.

 

Hey I prefaced the comment with the fact that I'm a horribly picky eater. Yes there was all of that stuff, but none of it was GOOD, in my opinion. The hamburgers and hot dogs were gross...I don't eat too many different kinds of meat...the sides like macaroni and cheese or pasta salads had funky spices in them. The pizza tasted like cheap, buffet pizza. I'm extremely picky about pizza. I won't even eat the american chain pizza places. I guess I should also add that I ate a LOT of turkey pitas. But the other sandwiches they had ready-made were not things that I would eat...like avocado on a turkey sandwich??? The ready-made turkey pitas had some sort of weird salad concoction in them. And after they switched over to the crew members serving buffet food, it was a pretty big hassle to get a made-to-order pita.

 

In the main dining room, I only had the steak. Or at least I only ordered the steak. I was brought a different entree than I ordered everytime and to this day I still don't know what was brought to me. I think prime rib looking stuff one time...the other times, I have no clue what it was. I tried looking for something on the menu that might clue me in, but we couldn't figure it out. The steak was advertised as a 8 oz sirloin, but after you cut all the fat off it was probably more like 3 oz. With that steak, I got a caesar salad...and I thought the desserts were terrible..with the exception in plain lime sherbert or vanilla ice cream with chocolate syrup. Any of the fancier stuff did not taste good to ME at all.

 

So yes, I basically ate salad and bananas the whole time (bananas because I figured they were closed up until I opened them because I was totally paranoid about norovirus). So go ahead and roll your eyes, but I lost like 5 pounds so there's one good thing that came out of it.

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Bed bugs crossed my mind, but we never really checked for them. My husband didn't break out at all so I'm thinking that it was an allergic reaction to the detergent or something they use to sanitize. The only reason I'm thinking it was something used to sanitize is because I got hives on my neck and chest after taking off the life jacket. But then again, who knows if they even bother with sanitizing those! I've only gotten hives one other time about 11 years ago from cheap laundry detergent (Purex). But they were nowhere near the magnitude that I had on this cruise. More like a rash. I wanted to take photos to document them but DH wouldn't let me..lol.

 

For instance I was wearing Sea Bands on that first day. When I woke up that first evening around 11:30 and took off the sea bands, I had a hive on each wrist in the exact shape of the sea band. Like one huuuuuuge hive encircling my entire wrist. Hopefully this isn't TMI, but I had fallen asleep in just a tee shirt and I have hives all over my backside in the exact shape of my underwear. I had them all up and down my legs and on my stomach and back. HUUUUUUUGE hives. They were unlike anything I have ever seen.

 

Hi, Judy.

I have had an outbreak of hives a few times in my life...once was when I was in college 40 years ago. A second time was a couple of years after I got married; and a third time was about 10 years later. Each time they got worse and lasted longer (last time was nearly 2 years). After much testing, changing everthing from diet to laundry detergent, and many doctor appointments, the only thing that we came up with was stress. I spent time focusing on lowering my stress levels, and have not had them sense. I know just how painful and maddening they can be. Maybe a few more cruises would help, but next time hopefully stress-free!! :) I hope you are doing better!

 

Duane

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Judybooty, you did a great job of being honest without going overboard (no pun intended). So often I read reviews where its clear a cruiser let one bad thing lead to another to "ruin" their cruise; you really did have some bad luck, but you kept your persepctive.

 

As a picky eater, did you try the Blue Lagoon? It has more traditional/comfort food.

 

The service from your cabin steward was appalling; I have never heard of not even getting the dailies! As someone on another post mentioned, I have always pre-tipped on cruises. I make a point to meet the steward the first day, give them some simple requests (an extra pillow, or clear the minibar) and then give them a good tip. I can't prove it works, but I always get good service.

 

Hives? that's a nightmare for any vacation. Hope you get a extra-good, stress-free, high quality service vacation next time to make up for this one!

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