I posted part of this response elsewhere on Cruisemates under another subject.
My husband and I sailed on the JEWEL in September 2005 to New England/Canada when she was quite new. We are in our late 50's and have traveled quite a bit. It was our first NCL cruise, though, and we loved it! We thought the JEWEL was just wonderful.
We were in an AF-Mini-suite #11-104, aft. Our room steward was efficient and friendly and our mini-suite (starboard side, aft) was comfy and had plenty of room for storage, especially drawer space. Even our queen bed seemed to be larger than a queen. My husband is 6' 6" and we worried about having a queen bed, but it was VERY comfortable.
We adored our balcony and would never cruise without one. However, we find HAL's balconies to be a bit more private because their dividers between staterooms go all the way to the railing. NCL has an acrylic divider those last few feet to the railing. I thought we would hate that, but we adjusted. The only time we saw a lot of other people out on their balconies the same time we were was when we sailed out of New York harbor.
We found the JEWEL's crew to be very international and interesting. They were friendly, too. We could hardly go anywhere on board without having a crew member say "HI" or "Have a good day."
We found our fellow passengers nice, cooperative and friendly, with a couple of exceptions but you always find those types wherever you go. Our suite must have been nicely insulated, as we never heard our neighbors on either side of our suite or noise from the hallway or elevator area (we were not too far from the elevators).
We ate in ALL the restaurants on board; our best meals on board were, surprisingly, in the Italian and Spanish ones. We even found the Garden Cafe buffet to be quite good for a buffet--nice variety and very quick for a hot breakfast in the morning. We did find the room service menu a bit limited, but the food was always delivered promptly and hot.
Our embarkation and debarkation on the Jewel went smoothly in New York. We liked that you could "linger" a bit that last morning, if you wanted.
We had such a good time on the JEWEL that we are sailing on the SUN in just 75 days. Right now NCL seems to be going the places we want to go (perfect itineraries) and for the right price.
We really think you would like the JEWEL--we would not hesitate to sail on her again!