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Norwegian Jewel: Truly A Gem!

Posted by on October 8, 2011


That’s how many cruises I have been on. So this Norwegian Cruise Lines cruise from New York to Canada/New England makes 11. I have even been on another cruise that left New York and sailed out past the Statue of Liberty. So it shouldn’t be all that exciting. But still.


Cruising away from New York.

I get that frisson of excitement when the ship begins moving. Another adventure has begun. Everyone on the ship feels it too. They rush up the stairs to someplace, anyplace where they can see and take pictures and smile at each other and marvel at the fact that they are on a cruise! Cruising away from port! And just how totally fabulous is that.

Pretty fabulous. Pretty darn fabulous.

We have left Lady Liberty behind now and we are on the high seas – I love saying that. The high seas. Like we are swarthy, golden-earringed pirates heading out for plunder instead of middle-aged tourists, gray-haired oldsters taking their first cruise, and families with kids who are more excited about the free ice cream than the fact that they are on a cruise ship.

Symbol of freedom for the world.

But we are in this together – this adventure on the high seas. And we could not be experiencing it on a nicer ship than the Jewel. After 10 cruises and a lot of different ships, I have to say that the Jewel is truly one of the nicest ships I have been on. Beautifully decorated in rich colors like teal and royal purple, she is absolutely immaculate and is so new-looking, you would think she had just come from the shipyard yesterday. Our verandah stateroom is roomy and I have just put away two suitcases crammed full of clothes with ease – we could easily fit a lot more stuff in here. I shoved the empty suitcases under the bed and now we are settled in and cozy.

I was pleasantly surprised to find we had been upgraded to VIP status when we checked in. My husband, Tom, laughs at me when I tell people I am a travel writer because I might just possibly work it into conversations even when it’s not totally necessary. “Lovely weather we are having”. “Why, yes it is! And, by the way, I am a travel writer”!

So, when the NCL checkin person said “Oh, you are VIP”. I said “It’s probably because I am a travel writer” and ignored his snicker. We were immediately whisked away from the long checkin line and ushered into the VIP room for VIP treatment, which I seriously love. Although, really, on a cruise ship, everyone feels like a VIP, we were given a little special treatment and escorted to Cagney’s, the steakhouse restaurant on the Jewel. I had actually eaten at Cagney’s quite a bit on my last cruise with NCL so I was familiar with the place and very pleased to be having lunch there because the food is normally wonderful. Just as I expected, everything was delicious.

Then it was time for our requisite ship tour, in which Tom learns his way around the ship and I follow him around and then proceed to be totally lost for the rest of the week. I invariably turn the wrong way when we get off the elevator and, if he was not with me, I would probably never eat because I would never find the restaurants.

Although, I have to say that the Jewel is much, much better than other ships I have been on in that everything is very clearly marked and pretty easy to find.

Maybe I’ll actually find my way back to our stateroom if we are separated.

I love this ship.

It’s quirky.

Chairs in one of the bars.

Giant chessboard on deck.

And elegant.

Ornamentation in the Tsar's Palace Restaurant.

Speaking of eating, we have a lot of choices on this ship. NCL originated the idea of freestyle cruising when they started letting their passengers have a choice about when and where they wanted to eat and I think we are going to really enjoy this concept. There are several restaurants which are complimentary and others a little more upscale which have a nominal fee – anywhere from $10 – $25, not bad for a fancy steakhouse or a French Bistro.

Tonight, we are headed to the Tsar’s Palace which we noticed earlier today was gorgeously decorated in a Russian style, even with ornaments on the railings that reminded me of Faberge eggs. I’ll update you on our meal and our other experiences this week as we head up the coast, hoping that the weather will cool off and the leaves will turn the beautiful colors we are expecting.

In the meantime, we are enjoying the high seas.

Yo-ho, yo-ho, a pirate’s life for me!

Full disclosure: Norwegian Cruise Lines provided us with a media rate for our cruise, but, as always, I will share my honest opinion about any travel experiences I have.

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