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zorbarick

NCL Jewel Northbound August 12-19, 2019

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We just got off the Jewel, sailing from Vancouver to Seward.  There have been a few detailed reviews recently, so I'm just going to mention a few things that stood out to us.  We were in an aft balcony 10168, with four of us (2 kids, 15 and 12).  It was definitely cramped, but we managed.  I expected the cabin to be crowded, and it was.  But there were a few unexpected highs and lows. 

 

First, the good.  They really do a great job a maximizing storage.  Even with four of us, we managed to get everything reasonably put away and organized in the room (the bathroom is another story, but more on that below).  The luggage all slipped under the bed, and there were enough drawers, closet and shelf space for all of us.   I was pleasantly surprised.  Also, strictly as a sleeping area, it worked fine.  It was tight, but we all had plenty of room (one large bed, plus a loveseat that made out into something a bit wider than a twin, and another twin that came down from the ceiling).  Our room steward did a great job.  The room was kept clean, and we always had towels, etc. for the four of us.  They usually turned down the room while we were at dinner, and typically had it made up while we were at breakfast.  It was impressive.  

 

Now, the not so good.  The bathroom is TINY!  There was virtually no space to store things, and you could hardly turn around without bumping into things.  The shower itself was actually manageable, but the toilet and sink areas were, to us, unacceptably cramped.  We managed, but it was really tight.   Also, with the room turned down for sleeping, it was an obstacle course getting out onto the balcony.  Others have mentioned this, but it really is crazy.  You have to cross over the "loveseat" bed, while simultaneously ducking your head under the pull down in order to get outside.  It was awkward, at best, and took away some of the pleasure of having a balcony, particularly at night.  

 

Aside from the room, and its good and bad points, we really enjoyed the Jewel.  We were on the Getaway a few years ago, and enjoyed that as well, but everything about the Jewel felt less crowded the entire week.  I will gladly trade some of the extra amenities the Getaway-sized ships offer for the less crowded feeling of the Jewel.  I thought it was a perfect size.  

 

Finally, one comment about the food.  Generally speaking, we had good to very good food.  If you expect high end land based restaurants, you will be disappointed, but we had few bad meals (or even bad dishes) and some really good things - with one notable exception.  Everyone in our group (my family of four plus my parents) agreed that Cagneys was, by far, the worst meal of the entire trip.  And it wasn't just a one-off thing.  My father and daughter went a second night and also had bad food (and service).  As just a few examples, two of the three steaks were significantly overcooked (medium came out almost well done).  The fish came out nearly raw (and cold).  We never got one of the sides or the bread we asked for, and despite being told about all the wonderful condiments for the baked potatoes, never even got butter for them (let alone, the bacon, cheese, chives and sour cream advertised).  

 

I'm sure they would have fixed some of these things, but we were all trying to get to the show that night, and we had already been there nearly two hours by the time the entrees arrived.  The manager apologized profusely, but when you have the pre-paid meal plan, there's really not much they can do to make up for things.  They did have some chocolate covered strawberries delivered to our room the next day, which I appreciated, but the meal was ruined.  

 

I had read that Cagneys had gone downhill, but I never would have believed how bad things had gotten without experiencing it for myself.  We had really good experiences at Teppanyaki, La Cucina, and Le Bistro, and even pretty good food at Chin Chin and the main dining room.  But I would not go to Cagneys again unless reviews get better.  Seriously, the worst steak you have the entire trip should not come from the steakhouse - but there you have it.  

 

I'm happy to answer questions (to the extent I can), but those were the main highs and lows.  

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We will be on the exact cruise leaving Monday the 26th.  If you could answer a few questions it would be greatly appreciated.

 

If you used the NCL transfer from Seward to Anchorage, how did it go?  We have a 1:00pm flight and need to decide what time to get off the ship.

 

Do you know what was served in the Garden Café for Alaska Night or Fisherman's night?  Can't find it now but someone posted only a picture of a buffet that included clams, mussels, crab claws, shrimp but no information.  Do you know which night or which venue?

 

Interesting info about Cagney's.  We are currently booked there and are now reconsidering changing when we get aboard.  Thank you.

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3 hours ago, farjar said:

We will be on the exact cruise leaving Monday the 26th.  If you could answer a few questions it would be greatly appreciated.

 

If you used the NCL transfer from Seward to Anchorage, how did it go?  We have a 1:00pm flight and need to decide what time to get off the ship.

 

Do you know what was served in the Garden Café for Alaska Night or Fisherman's night?  Can't find it now but someone posted only a picture of a buffet that included clams, mussels, crab claws, shrimp but no information.  Do you know which night or which venue?

 

Interesting info about Cagney's.  We are currently booked there and are now reconsidering changing when we get aboard.  Thank you.

 

Was on this cruise July 29th - August 5th.

 

I do not remember seeing clams, mussels, crab claws or shrimp at the buffet. They did have a fisherman's buffet but that was more salmon, fish, and food with shrimp or crab in it (salads, veggies,etc.)

 

I used Big Bus Transportation to get from Seward to Anchorage. The bus left at 8:30am and we were at the airport at 11:15am.

We were allowed off the ship starting at 6:30am.

 

I guess you need to call NCL and ask what time their shuttles leave at? You will be getting off the ship in time to get on your bus. For us we left our room at 745am and were on the bus at 8:15am. The line up went from the Starlight Theatre all the way through the casino, wine bars and ended at the elevators outside Azura.

 

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Regarding the shuttles, we used the NCL bus transfer.  We had a 1:30pm flight, and were on the shuttle that had us getting off the ship at 7:15am (I think that was for all flights from noon to 2:00).  For those who had flights from 2:00 to 5:00pm, they were on a shuttle that had an 8:15 disembarkation time.  

 

NCL also has a transfer by train, but I think you had to have a flight after 2:00, maybe 2:30 (and the disembarkation time for those people was something like 6:30am).  

 

One thing I did appreciate about the NCL transfer (as opposed to using a private company), was that NCL took the luggage straight from the staterooms to the airport.  We did not need to get our bags on the dock and transfer them to the bus; instead, we left them outside our stateroom door the last night and got them at the airport near the check in desk.  That was a really nice benefit to using the NCL transfer.  

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Just to show how experiences can vary, I have sailed on the Escape, Breakaway and Getaway over the past ten months.  Each time, my meal at Cagney's was very good and the buffets featured unlimited iced, peeled shrimp and mussels on the half shell in the buffets on seafood nights.  

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