Overall Rating: Good
|Departed From:||New York City|
|# of Nights:||7 Nights|
|Sailed As:||Family w/ Children|
I traveled with my family of 14 (5 cabins) aboard the Jewel July 2-9 2011. First off the food was excellent in the buffet, main dining, Sushi Bar($15) and Great Outdoors. Other specialty I did not try...way too many extra charge restaurants. I recommend eating breakfast in the main dining room...buffet hardly has any available seats on sea days. My cabin was roomier than I expected (mini-suite) and the staff throughout ship were very friendly. I really appreciated having a "separate" toilet area from the sink area. It is separated by a sliding glass door similar to a tub door. I also liked having a tub. The bed was probably one of the most comfortable I've ever slept on. Ship and cabin were kept very clean and I hardly ever saw my stateroom attendant. Embarkation was exceptionally quick, however we did arrive at 11:30am...most crowds were not there yet. Debarkation is great especially when you carry your own luggage off...leave when you're ready, not when they tell you. The big production shows in the main theater were excellent as well with very good sightlines...very few obstructions.
Now for the bad. This company has exclusive rights to Nickelodeon and NO Nicktoons on TV at all, not even an episode of Spongebob or Dora....NOTHING! This was very disheartening considering we have cruise aboard RCCL before and they had Nick AND Disney channels all the time. There was always some form of children's programming on at some point. It would have been a very welcomed distraction while trying to get ready for dinner or winding down at night before bed. My 8 year old liked the Kid's Club, but my 5 yr. 10 mo. old HATED it! It was perfect for a 2 or 3 year old but babyish for 4 & 5 yr. olds. My son is starting 1st grade in 2 months and the staff absolutely refused to let him in the older group. We even went down to guest services and they had the youth counselor supervisor come down and speak with us. She said it was impossible for him to move to the older group however, that the children are all joined together in the large "fun" room for Freestyle Free play. This was at very limited times and sometimes for as little as 30 minutes only. I just wonder why it was impossible for my 5 yr. old to join my 8 yr. old when they combine them for group play anyway??? I guess I will never know. The young kids had a small 20X20 room with no toys and were stuck there usually with storytime or arts & crafts. Needless to say we did not have much kid-free time to ourselves.
I do have to say that this is my first time cruising during peak "kid" season. With that being said, the pool deck was CRAZY on sea days. Just about impossible to get a lounge chair even on the upper sun deck! Also a word about ordering a drink from a waiter on the pool deck....plan on waiting 30 minutes for it. You are better off going to get it yourself.
Also, the cigar bar no longer exists and if you want to smoke a cigar, must do so up in the Sky bar surrounded by beach wearing folk and loud music. (Not conducive to a relaxing after dinner cigar and drink). I recommend they allow cigar smoking in the Star Bar...which is not connected to any other public area so people do not "complain" which is why it is no longer attached to Maltings Bar. I guess we were spoiled aboard Royal Caribbeans' Freedom of the Seas Cigar Bar. They even had someone there selling cigars and she knew her stuff! She even recommended what you should drink with it, nipped it, and lit it.
My final complaint is we wanted to have 1 sit down dinner for all 14 of us at 1 table in one of the main dining rooms, which we tried to reserve 3 days in advance. They refused to accommodate us saying it is "Industry standard" to have table sizes be a maximum of 12. However, later evenings I saw tables set up as large as 16. I did finally find a restaurant supervisor in Azura main dining room, named Roman, who did agree to set up a table for 14. The point is, we should not have had to go through 5 different people for such a simple request.
For the most part, we did have a good time because my parents and sisters and extended family were there, but almost definitely won't sail with NCL again unless I know for a fact that those areas have been addressed.