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Travel Update: Norwegian Jewel, October 2015

Calling Los Angeles home for more than 6 months out of the year, the Norwegian Jewel gives us West Coasters a little taste of what our friends to the East have known for years: bigger ships are better. They have more space, more activities, more places to eat and drink, and more access to fun.

View from the gangway

View from the gangway

With two theaters, multiple dining venues and numerous specialty bars, it really is possible for you to try something new every day of your sailing. Choices galore!

Dining consists of two main dining rooms (with a different menu each night), a vast & varied multi-station buffet, a chinese restaurant and an irish pub, all of which are included in your cruise fare.

Tsar's Palace (Main Dining Room)

Tsar’s Palace (Main Dining Room)

Specialty dining restaurants include teppanyaki, a sushi bar, italian, and french restaurants, a churrascaria and a steakhouse. Per person surcharges range from $20 – 30 per visit for all but the sushi bar, which is a la carte. My personal favorite was the sushi bar (and adjoining sake bar): though it served only a handful of options, each that I tried was fresh and tasty.

Sake and Sushi Menu (Sake is one of the many options of the beverage package)

Sake and Sushi Menu
(Sake is one of the many options of the beverage package)

Beverage Package
3 words: Totally Worth It.
Unlimited options allow you to try something new without fear of spending too much or splurging on something you won’t like. And trust me, with options like a champagne bar, martini bar, whiskey bar, sake bar and more, you’ll have no problem finding a new favorite.

AND, with Norwegian’s current promotion allowing you to choose the beverage package for free with your cruise fare, this makes for a great value!

Family Programs
The Jewel’s on-board children’s program (for ages 3 – 17) is designed to give moms & dads a chance to relax, and certainly does not disappoint. The staff is trained to address the needs of a variety of children, including those in the special needs community. Each member we observed were friendly and seemed to bond easily with all of their young charges. My kids were often reluctant to leave, and were not the only ones we observed asking for “just 5 more minutes, mom!”

A special treat was the circus show the kids performed at the end of the week. Held in the main theater, it provided youth in all of the programs to perform on the big stage and showcase their talents. (Kudos to one tween whose yo-yo skills could surely secure him a spot on America’s Got Talent.)

For the tiniest cruisers, there is a kids-only splash pool and water area that adjoins a Mommy and Me play area. It is rumored that the supervised children’s program will expand in 2016 to include care for infants – age 2, but this has not yet been confirmed.

In addition to cruise line staples such as a poolside game show, karaoke and daily trivia contests, the NCL Jewel has unique classes (for a fee) in wine-tasting, towel-animal art and sushi-making.

For self-guided fun, there are several shuffleboard boards, giant chess and giant checkers. Tweens, teens and adults all seemed to enjoy the basketball court, while adults in particular were drawn to the putting greens. We walked off that second helping of dessert on the walking track, and saw several cruisegoers keeping fit with the separate running track.

Poolside Mariachi Serenade

Poolside Mariachi Serenade

Entertainment is plentiful and available throughout the ship: live music, comedy shows, and a nightclub give adults something to get dressed up and step out on the town for. Each evening had a different theme, so check your daily newsletter. In particular, the Cirque Show is not to be missed.
For the kids, the children’s program has a daily nighttime schedule, as well as an after hours camp (for an extremely reasonable fee).

Whether you are new to cruising, or have been doing the Baja 3-day hops for years now, the Norwegian Jewel deserves your consideration. It offers big fun for everyone in the family, at a competitive price that makes it money well spent.

Happy Travels!

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