In a sea of cruise ship options, it’s hard for one ship to stand out from the rest. The reasons a ship stands out are varied; but for me, what made Norwegian Jewel shine was its crew. Out of nearly 2,000 passengers, crew members remembered us by name and details of our interactions. We were impressed that not only were they well-trained and knowledgeable, but the staff was friendly and genuinely funny as well.
NCL prides itself on their innovative, “Freestyle Dining”. The food is very good and well presented. Compared to other cruise lines, they offer more flexibility, however first time cruisers may not find it as “freestyle” as imagined. Dining areas close for a short time between breakfast and lunch, but late-comers quickly learn to account for this. Additionally, a small menu is available for room service delivery 24-hours a day, allowing you the freedom to eat whenever you want. Of course, room service is included in the price of your cruise.
Dining Dress Code
The dining dress code can be a bit confusing. Cruisers may wear whatever they like at the buffet and all dining rooms included in the cost of the cruise. Specialty restaurants, available for an additional $10-$25 cover charge, are designated as “resort casual”. Though this term typically means “no jeans”, I saw many individuals at these locations in nice jeans and no one seemed to mind. For those who prefer dressing up, the ship has enough ambiance, from Tsar’s (the main dining room) to specialty restaurants and the Stardust Theatre, to compliment semi-formal attire.
Live entertainment ranged from comedians to familiar games; such as “Family Feud”, “The Newlywed Game”, “Dancing with the Stars” and “Name That Tune” to the beautifully entertaining performance “Le Cirque Bijou”. The lively casino provides a healthy dose of excitement and Bingo games draw a large and diverse crowd. With a jackpot of more than $9,000 and a free 7-day cruise giveaway for two, I easily understood why. These options stood out to me, but are only a small portion of the many entertainment options available aboard Norwegian Jewel.
Nickelodeon at Sea
For kids, Nickelodeon at Sea (an NCL exclusive) offers its signature messy game show, “Slime Time LIVE!” and families can enjoy interactive games by the pool, breakfasts and meet-and-greets with their favorite characters; such as SpongeBob, Dora the Explorer and Diego among other fun activities.
We saw kids marching around the ship with their entertainment coordinators, chanting cheery songs about boogers, which is just what you’d expect from Nickelodeon. Despite the silliness and the fact our week-long cruise featured Nickelodeon at Sea; we rarely had our own interaction with SpongeBob and could have easily forgotten this was primarily a family cruise themed for kids. There are children aboard the ship from all over the world, providing little ones the opportunity to interact with children of different cultures. Even if they can’t communicate verbally, the language of “play” is international.
Whether traveling with kids, as a couple, a group or alone, Norwegian Jewel has enough variety for all. I would recommend this cruise to anyone, especially those who prefer the option of departing from New York City. You’re sure to enjoy it. Tell the crew I said “hi”!
If you are interested in Nickelodeon at Sea or sailing aboard Norwegian Jewel, contact a Boscov’s Travel Specialist at 800-755-8020 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.