It was a great experience with only a few minor bumps.
My wife and I have been on over 30 cruises and have seen the range.
The ship is gorgeous and new. Clean and well designed.
EMBARKATION: Easy port of barcelona, but their system of bringing you on the boat to walk up 3 flights to check in at a conference room needs some work. Was worried when we started our cruise like this, but that is where our worries ended.
Nice new ship with good looking decor. We had an inside cabin (that's how we can go on so many cruises) which was the typicall smallness. Bed was very comfortable with nice soft down covers. Not the itchy scratchy covers of old.
Great eating area in the back of the boat w/ shade and sun and no wind. nothing like eating breakfast while docked in a pretty port getting excited about going out on the day.
Pools and deck space were a bit tight. Loved using the slide w/ the kids. However for the day at sea there were a lot of people out on deck and lounges were tough to find. Where as in most ships the back of the boat has another pool and some jacuzzis this one does not as the space is used for the eating area, and the suites w/ the balconies. so would be weary to go on this ship in the carribean or when there are a lot of days at sea.
Full basketball court w/ a stadium to watch the games. 2 areas to swing golf clubs was very nice.
Food and Service
Excellent. I have been on previous NCL and could not have said the same about them. There were lots of specialty resturants like a benny hana type of place that was great, the steak house (very good) mama mia's was a score since that one doesn't cost any more and it is very good italian (though tough to go back to after eating in italy). The main resturants were more like resturants than big dinning halls except for Tsars. Azura was like being in a nice small resturant.
Soda card got a bit expensive (used to be 20 bucks, now 40) but there was no attitude by the bartenders as there sometimes is w/ a soda card.
Ports of call were very nice. Sicily was great. Took the Teramina and wine tasting tour. Great little vineyard with an amazing home cooked traditional sicilian meal. Fantastico!! We did the Capri tour. Rome/Florence on your own. From Villefrance, went to cannes and nice... a little rushed but couldn't pass up on the film festival, or at least say I was there for it.
Thats it. Hope it helps. We loved it and hope you do too.
Sounds like you had a fantastic time. Enjoyed your report on board and some of the sites you visited. Maybe the DW and I can "do" that cruise one day. We have talked about going on a Med. cruise, but decided to take an Hawaiian cruise first.
If you took pictures and would like to share them, we would like to see them posted on the cruisemates site.
Our FIRST cruise is coming up the 11th of this month in Hawaii. We are looking forward to it very much. We are still in our "should we take this, think we will need that" stage. The cruisemates on this site have helped us VERY MUCH; therefore, maybe we have "culled" the items we can do without and will pack the things we will need.
it was great to hear you enjoyed the cruise so much.it helps us to read the post as we are doing the same itineary on 6th aug. there is myself,my wife and 10yr old son. we are also in an inside cabin although i don't know where.
could i ask you about the excursions,were they expensive and worthwhile or is it better to do your own thing?
we would love to see rome and naples etc. any other info on this cruise would be much appreciated. thank you
We just returned from the Jewel/Med on May 31st. I have written a long review on the other cruising site, so will try to shorten somewhat.
This is a fantastic itinerary -- I have never been on so many excursions with drop dead views. We did Taormina and Mt Etna -- I wish I had done the OP's tour with the vineyard as it got rave reviews and if you have been to Valcanoes Ntl Park in Hawaii, you can skip Etna; nice drive and views, however. Surprisingly good lunch for a mass feeding. Restrooms are very tight -- use the ones on each floor in the parking garage at Taormina, little to no lines.
We did the Almalfi Coast drive and Pompeii. Incredible vistas, but Pompeii is just a huge ruin, so if you have been to others, you might think twice. Enjoyed the ruins in Delos, more.
Rome we did on our own as we have been there, before. Easy train trip in, quick walk from the port, no need for a taxi, and only 9 E for a round trip train ticket which includes bus and subway in Rome for the entire day.
Florence, we took the ship's bus, then on our own. Be sure to call a few weeks ahead for reservations at Accademia, where the real David is, because without reservations, you can wait three hours to get in. I wouldn't book them before 11:45 as the bus trip is about an hour and a half or more. Hubby's favorite port.
Villefrance/Nice, we did the Nice/Eze tour. Once again, views to die for. Not enough time to enjoy Nice, which was my favorite port. Monaco was out for us because of the Grand Prix.
Barcelona, did the Montserrat post-cruise tour. The only tour where we had a few issues; all the others were very good, but Montserrat, itself, is a must see in my book. NCL has their tour disembarkation program running very smoothly -- never waited more than 15 minutes to get on our way.
The ship is new and pleasing. I found our balcony stateroom to have a poor lay-out. All that would have had to be done is flip the bed to the wall opposite the bath, and reverse the sides for the vanity/desk. As it is, all the traffic is in the few feet outside the bathroom door. Hubby and I have never bumped into each other so much as in this cabin. The toilet door, which is not opaque so has no real function, and the shower door would make it very difficult for a large person -- frankly, I do not know how they would cope. The result of the two doors is to make the sink area very clausterphobic, and hubby had to open the main bath door to dry his feet.
I am not a freestyler, I have learned. We found making reservations a hassle -- couldn't book when we returned to our cabin around 11, and not before 8 am when we would be off on an excursion. Since the daily doesn't come out until turn down, and that is where you will see the entertainment selections for the next night to work your dining around, I found the system to be unworkable. When I finally could get through around 5 after returning from an excursion, the two specialty, free, restaurants were booked for the entire night. Once, our reservation was lost. Interactive tv, which they say they are working on, would help greatly. The tv's in the halls showing how resturants are filling up, are NOT accurate. Food was fair to good. The buffet had no presentation, and practically no fresh fruit -- just melon. No trays, which made getting your food, all served by staff, including the coffee, difficult, with lines, and plate juggling. Great fish and chips, eggs benedict, steak in LeBistro, fajita's in Tangoes, and shrimp/aspargus rissotto in Mama's.
Crew was hard working and friendly, a surprise to me with mandatory tips added on to your bill. Entertainment, that I saw on the main stage, was excellent, but no convenient lounges to enjoy a drink and a dance to live music -- one of the things lost with freestyle and space taken by various restaurants.
Disclaimer: We had been to most of these ports before (except Sicily) so our need to hit the main highlights in a guided tour fashion was not our objective.
Sicily: Taoromina and Vineyard. Taoromina was crowded but after the short tour to the Teatro (theater) which was amazing, go stroll and shop on your own. Envision the quaint town w/ out the thousand of tourists (like ourselves) and remember why it is called the peak season. Still nice though.
The Vineyard was small but spectacular. A great...and I mean a great meal, with homemade pasta cooked al dente, salads, home made sausages, olives, roasted pepers, the wines w/ a sampling of two reds, two whites and a desert wine paired w/ a terrific toasted almond cookie. Plenty for seconds and thirds. You get back in time to walk around the port of Messina on your own. Worth the tour price.
Naples: We did Capri. It was a nice tour w/ a nice lunch a little forced when they have you meet in a department store and show you their in layed wood items that are conveniently available for purchase. Next time I would just take the hydrofoil over, make sure that you do go to Ana Capri which is the topof the island as well as Capri the main town mid way up the island. Those doing serrento and other places w/ the tour only make it up to Capri and not to Ana capri which was less touristy and quieter. The only advantage of doing capri w/ a tour is that if you miss a hydrofoil back you don't have to worry about the ship leaving you, but don't think that would be a big issue. not sure of the price of the hydrofoil by itself so can't tell if the cruise is making that much money off of you w/ the tour.
We had done the pompei serrento and capri excursion before and the other two places are beautiful....just reminding you that you can't do it all and will still want to come back.
Rome and Florence: We took the bus excursion into the center of town and then did it on our own. We did so much it was great. We thought about doing the train into rome, but weren't "brave" enough. The bus rides were very informational and just enough for us as we made our way into town. Droping you off in very central locations. A beautiful thing is the Borghese Museum in the Borghese Gardens (their version of central park) was great, needs reservations ahead of time (easy to do) and was a relaxing break at 12:30 after we had seen the coleseum (where they drop you off) went to the jewish synagogue, jewish ghetto, campo fiorio, piaza navona, pantheon, trevi fountain, up the spanish steps to the borghese. Eating lots of great food along the way.
Florence, we walked the streets, saw the duomo, strolled the piazas and just had a great leisurely day.
Ville France: Not to be confused w/ Nice. They tender you in and then that is it. they call it nice on their itenerary but they should have a transfer for you to go to nice. Ahead of time w/ the cannes fillm festival we had planned what we were going to do. Train to Cannes, saw the festival, strolled the markets, and then cabbed to nice, had lunch walked around and then cabbed back to ville france and strolled around before going back. They should have offered a transfer to nice. We had been to Ezze and montecarlo and st. paul de france all spectacular excursions from that area.
hope this helps.
we're looking at a carribean cruise this december but has to be kid friendly as we are taking the little one....which it is tough to find cruises that have babysitters at night and don't charge full price for a below 2 year old child....but i guess that they know that daddy is eating for two.