Norwegian Jewel - Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 (Berlitz Cruise Guide) (2016)

Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 (Berlitz Cruise Guide) (2016)

Norwegian Jewel


Berlitz’s Ratings

Ship: 365 out of 500

Accommodation: 145 out of 200

Food: 240 out of 400

Service: 273 out of 400

Entertainment: 66 out of 100

Cruise: 276 out of 400

Overall Score: 1365 out of 2000

Norwegian Jewel Statistics

Size: Large Resort Ship

Tonnage: 93,000

Lifestyle: Standard

Cruise Line: Norwegian Cruise Line

Former Names: none

IMO Number: 9304045

Builder: Meyer Werft (Germany)

Original Cost: $390 million

Entered Service: Aug 2005

Registry: Panama

Length (ft/m): 964.8/294.1

Beam (ft/m): 105.6/32.2

Draft (ft/m): 26.9/8.2

Propulsion/Propellers: diesel-electric (40,000kw)/2 azimuthing pods

Passenger Decks: 12

Total Crew: 1,089

Passengers (lower beds): 2,376

Passenger Space Ratio (lower beds): 39.1

Passenger/Crew Ratio (lower beds): 2.1

Cabins (total): 1,188

Size Range (sq ft/m): 142.0-4,390.0/13.2-407.8

Cabins (for one person): 0

Cabins (with private balcony): 540

Cabins (wheelchair accessible): 27

Wheelchair accessibility: Good

Cabin Current: 110 volts

Elevators: 12

Casino (gaming tables): Yes

Slot Machines: Yes

Swimming Pools: 2

Hot Tubs (on deck): 6

Self-Service Launderette: No

Dedicated Cinema/Seats: No

Library: Yes

Onboard currency: US$


A large, casual ship for lively, family-friendly cruising

Overview. A multitude of choices, including many dining options, add up to a very attractive vacation package, highly suitable for families with children, in a floating leisure center that provides ample facilities for enjoyment. The dress code is very casual - no jacket and tie needed - although you are welcome to dress formally if you wish.

The Ship. Norwegian Jewel, assembled from 67 blocks, has a basic design and layout similar to that of Norwegian Gem and Norwegian Pearl, and a pod propulsion system. The white hull has a colorful, funky design on its sides featuring sparkling jewels. There are plenty of sunloungers - in fact, more than the number of passengers carried. Water slides are included for the adult swimming pools. Children have their own pools at the stern, out of sight of adult areas.

Inside the ship, you’ll be met by an eclectic mix of colors and decor that you probably wouldn’t have in your home, and yet somehow it works extremely well in this large resort ship setting designed to attract the young, active, and trendy.

There are 13 bars and lounges, including Bar Central, three specialty bars that are connected but have distinct personalities. Shakers Martini and Cocktail Bar is a 1960s-inspired lounge; Magnum’s Champagne and Wine Bar recalls Paris of the 1920s and the liner Normandie; and Maltings Beer and Whiskey Pub is a contemporary bar with artwork themed around whiskey and beer production.

Despite the company’s name, there’s little that’s Norwegian about this product, except for some senior officers. There’s plenty of lively music, constant activity, entertainment, and food that is mainstream and acceptable but nothing more, unless you pay extra to eat in the specialty dining spots. All this is delivered by a smiling, friendly service staff that lacks polish but is willing.

The ship is full of revenue centers designed to part you from your cash. Expect to be subjected to a stream of flyers advertising daily art auctions, ‘designer’ watches, and ‘inch of gold/silver.’ The initial cruise fare is reasonable, but extra costs soon mount up if you want to sample more than the basics. A mandatory per person service charge is added to your account daily; 15 percent is also added for bar charges, and a whopping 18 percent for spa treatments.

Families. A good deal of space is devoted to children’s facilities, which are all tucked well away from adult recreation areas, at the aft end of the ship. Children of all ages get to play in a superb wet ’n’ wild space-themed water park complete with large pool, water slide, and paddle pool. There’s a room full of cots for toddlers to use for sleepovers, and even the toilets are at a special low height. Teens, too, are well catered for, and have their own cinema, discotheque with dance floor, and hot tub.

More than 250 cabins have interconnecting doors - good for families with children. That means interior cabins can connect; outside-view cabins can connect; and outside-view and balcony cabins can connect. Also for families, many cabins also have third- and fourth-person pull-down berths or trundle beds.

Accommodation. There are numerous accommodation price grades, so there’s something for all tastes, from small interior cabins to lavish Penthouse Suites in a private courtyard setting - part of The Haven complex. Although they are nicely furnished and quite well equipped, the standard outside-view and interior cabins are quite small, particularly when occupied by three or four people.

A small room service menu is available; all non-food items are at extra cost, and a 15 percent service charge is added to your account. Bottled water is placed in each cabin, but you will be charged if you open the bottle.

Courtyard Penthouses/Suites. Two Garden Villas (each measures 4,390 sq ft/408 sq m), and 10 Courtyard Villas share a private courtyard with its own small pool, hot tub, massage bed, and fitness room - all in a setting that is distinctly Asian. They also share a private concierge lounge with the two largest villas, as well as butler and concierge service. These units enjoy exclusivity - rather like accommodation in a gated community - where others cannot live unless they pay the asking price. The two largest are duplex apartments, with a spiral stairway between the upper and lower quarters.

Dining. Freestyle Dining has no assigned dining rooms, tables or seats, so you can choose which restaurant to eat in, at what time, and with whom. In practice, this means you have to make reservations for a specific time, so ‘freestyle dining’ turns out to be programmed dining. Ten restaurants and eateries are spread over two entire decks. Some are included in the cruise fare, others cost extra.

There are two main dining rooms: the 552-seat Tsar’s Palace, designed to look like the interior of Catherine the Great’s St Petersburg palace in Russia, and the 310-seat Azura. There are also a number of other themed eating establishments, giving a wide range of choice - though some cost extra, and require advance reservations.

The 17 video screens around the ship enable you to check how long you’ll have to wait for a table at each dining spot. Pagers are available, so you can go bar-hopping while you wait for a table. The system works well, although on formal nights when you may want to see the show, congestion can occur. Norwegian Cruise Line’s (NCL’s) dress code states that ‘jeans, T-shirts, tank tops, and bare feet are not permitted in restaurants.’

Other dining options. Cagney’s Steakhouse (for fine steaks and seafood), Blue Lagoon (Asian street food), and Le Bistro (French cuisine) are NCL favorites. In a 2014 refit, O’Sheehan’s Neighborhood Bar and Grill was added as a casual eatery.

Chin Chin is an Asian eatery with a Teppanyaki Grill and sushi counter. La Cucina Italian Restaurant has a long wooden table running through the room to create the ambience of a Tuscan farmhouse. The Garden Café is the ship’s large self-serve buffet eatery; it incorporates an ice cream bar, and Kid’s Café, with its own kid-height counter, and is located opposite the children’s play areas. For coffee, head to the Java Café in the lobby, and to taste some of Buddy Valasco’s cupcakes in Carlo’s Bakery, adjacent.

Entertainment. The Stardust Theater, seating 1,037, is the venue for colorful Las Vegas-style production shows and major cabaret acts. It is designed in the style of an opera house, spans three decks, and has a steeply tiered main floor and port and starboard balconies.

There are two or three production shows in a typical seven-day cruise, all ably performed by the Jean Ann Ryan Company. These are all very colorful, high-energy, razzle-dazzle shows with much use of pyrotechnics, lasers, and color-mover lighting. By the end of the evening, you may well be too tired to remember much about the shows, which are nevertheless very entertaining.

A number of bands and solo entertaining musicians provide live music for listening and dancing in lounges and bars. In Spinnakers Lounge, a nightclub, a Pachanga Party is held each cruise (a Miami South Beach rave).

Spa/Fitness. Wellness devotees should enjoy the two-deck-high Bora Bora health spa complex, operated by the Hawaii-based Mandara Spa, located in the front of the ship with large ocean-view windows on three sides. There are many facilities and services to pamper you, almost all at extra charge, including Thai massage in the spa, outdoors on deck, in your cabin or on your private balcony.

In addition, there is a 37ft (11m) indoor lap pool, hydrotherapy pool, two sit-in deep tubs, aromatherapy and wellness centers, and mud treatment rooms. There are 15 treatment rooms in all, including one specifically designed for couples, and heated tile loungers in a relaxation area.

The fitness and exercise rooms, with the latest Cybex muscle-pumping equipment, are located not within the spa, but at the top of the glass-domed atrium lobby. Included is a room for exercycle classes. Some classes, such as Pathway to Yoga, Body Cycling Class, and Body Beat Class (cardio kick-boxing), cost extra.

Recreational sports facilities include a jogging track, golf driving range, basketball and volleyball courts, as well as four levels of sunbathing decks.