Norwegian Jewel Review – The Flagship Of Its Class
Recently I had the pleasure to sail on a re-positioning cruise aboard the Norwegian Jewel. Following her duties over the summer hauling the masses back and forth to Alaska, the Jewel was re-positioned from Vancouver all the way to New Orleans over the course of a few weeks. I was able to join the Jewel on the first leg of her re-positioning, from Vancouver to Los Angeles. (See here for an explanation of getting to the cruise terminal in Vancouver.)
Now lets take a look at the itinerary:
- Day 1: Embark in Vancouver, BC
- Day 2: Victoria, BC
- Day 3: Day at Sea
- Day 4: Astoria, OR
- Day 5: San Francisco, CA
- Day 6: Day At Sea
- Day 7: Debark in Los Angeles, CA
As you can see this itinerary wasn’t groundbreaking, especially with the September rainy weather, but having never been to Victoria or Astoria, it was attractive to me. Also, San Francisco is one of my favorite cities and leaving from Vancouver meant I got to see my cousin which was an added bonus. Now on to the review.
In this first part of the Norwegian Jewel review, I just want to familiarize you with the ship. Built in 2005 as their then flagship, the Jewel is the first of four “Jewel Class” ships in Norwegian’s fleet. These ships are considered mid-sized at around 93,000 gross tons. This means that the ship is large enough to have a wide range of activities and amenities, but small enough that you won’t feel overwhelmed or lost like on some of the larger ships. While I prefer a bigger ship, the Jewel’s size is fine by me and the layout is very efficient.
Here are some stats about the Jewel from Norwegian’s website:
- Passenger Capacity: 2,376 (double occupancy)
- Gross Register Tonnage: 93,502
- Overall Length: 965 feet
- Max Beam: 105 feet
- Draft: 28 feet
- Engines: Diesel Electric
- Cruise Speed: 22.5 knots
- Crew: 1,100
Now without going into too much detail, I will give you a small rundown about the ship.
Since this is an introduction to the overall Norwegian Jewel review, I just want to talk a little about the look and feel of the public areas. Having been on the Jade earlier this year, I was a little concerned with what the decor would be. While the Jade still has flowery motifs everywhere that linger from her days sailing the Hawaiian waters, the decor on the Jewel is slightly more understated. This ship is not a luxury liner by any stretch, but the surroundings are pleasant enough and quite relaxing. I would definitely say that the Jewel looks so much better than any of the Carnival ships, but still falls short in the looks department when compared to some of Royal Caribbean’s new offerings!
Once again this is just an introduction and I will have a complete section about staterooms, but I do want to mention the variety on board the Jewel. This ship has the typical range of inside, oceanview and balcony staterooms. One thing that Norwegian’s ships have that is unique to most ships is a mini-suite. The mini-suite is a slightly larger balcony room with a bath tub! Very nice. Also, the Jewel has a number of suites both down on the main decks and in the very private Haven area. Much like what I said about the decor, I find the staterooms to look nicer than Carnival, but they still have that “at sea” feeling. While newer ships have managed to make staterooms look like hotel rooms, the Jewel along with most ships form her era, doesn’t manage to pull that off.
With two main dining room, two buffets, a coffee shop and eight specialty restaurants, there is always something to eat on the Norwegian Jewel. For those who are new to Norwegian, they use a philosophy called “Freestyle Dining”. This means that unlike other more traditional cruise lines, you get to eat whenever you want. In the main dining rooms this means simply showing up and waiting a few minutes for a table. Some of the specialty restaurants get busy and reservations are taken as well. During the food section of the review, I will provide a good overview of the ship along with the few specialty restaurants I was able to dine in. For such a small ship, the Jewel has a lot of options for grub!
To end this introduction, I just want to mention that my sailing on the Jewel was very good. The staff were very efficient and friendly and I left the ship wanting to book another sailing on a Norwegian ship. Through the course of this review I will go into detail about the ships amenities, staff, staterooms and food. I will also review the different ports that we stopped at and end with an overview of how I rate the ship.
Click below for part two of this Norwegian Jewel review.