Cruise Ship: Norwegian Jewel
Cruise Destination: Eastern Caribbean
Cruise Dates: February 12 - February 19, 2006
Guest Contributor: Judy
This was my first time cruising and I absolutely loved it.
I had taken various resort vacations in Mexico, Cuba before, so that was my basis of comparison.
The ship was fabulous - brand spanking new (I understand it's only been cruising since 2005.)
Our accommodations were inside cabin and considering how small it was they made very efficient use of space (and made it seem bigger by strategic placement of mirrors.) I thought it was great that despite our not having a window we were able to see how the weather was every day by the "Bow cam" available on TV.
The ship had several restaurants and bars - which gave us a lot of options for dining and different types of cuisine. Norwegian Cruise Lines offers what they call "Freestyle Cruising", which means you can eat where you want and when you want - also formal dress is optional.
Some of the restaurants had an additional cover charge and some also required reservations. (One word of advice - for those that required reservations - make them your first day on board for the balance of the week - they fill up quickly)
The first day on board offered a "Chocolate Buffet" - which I thought was wonderful! Beautiful sculptures made entirely of chocolate (those weren't for eating!!) and a selection of every type of cake, torte, pastry - ANYTHING!! - made of chocolate you could desire! An offer of free champagne on entrance to the buffet - what an introduction to cruising!!
There was also a 1000 seat theatre which offered entertainment every evening (usually two shows - 7:30 and 9:30 pm). The caliber of entertainment was excellent - everything from song and dance to Cirque du Soleil type circus to comedy to magic show. We looked forward every evening to the upcoming shows.
We were on the Eastern Caribbean cruise with ports of call in Puerto Rico, Antigua and St. Thomas.
The cruise line offered shore excursions which we took advantage of - they were well organized and enjoyable (so many different types of excursions were offered we had a hard time choosing what to do!)
My favorite island was St. Thomas - beautiful to look at and of course the shopping was fabulous! - THE place for precious gems (diamonds, rubies, emeralds, etc).
The ship gave us a Newsletter every day outlining the day's activities - always lots to do even if you didn't go ashore.
A word of advice to first time cruisers (regarding seasickness)- even if you have never experienced seasickness before you probably will if the seas are rough - I found that sea bands were the perfect solution (no chemicals like the patch or drugs like Gravol) - they literally worked in a matter of minutes. And then I was able to go on and enjoy the cruise. (These bands were available for sale on the ship - very reasonably priced at approximately $9.00)
In conclusion I would highly recommend cruising as a wonderful vacation and will definitely go again.