We liked our comped cruise by Casinos at Sea on the Norwegian Jewel. This post reviews the ship, the embarkation port, and the ship’s facilities.
Now that we have recovered from all the Easter festivities, I’m ready to tackle the review of our last cruise. A. and I cruised on the Norwegian Jewel on a 7-day itinerary out of Los Angeles. This cruise was comped by Casinos at Sea, based on A.’s playing at the Hard Rock Casino in Biloxi, MS. We had lots of options on where we could cruise, but we picked this one because we’ve not visited the Mexican Riviera before.
We flew to Los Angeles a day before our cruise. When we got outside arrivals at LAX, A. called for an Uber. We were told that we could only be picked up at departures, so we went upstairs and were picked up curbside. I had booked the Crowne Plaza on points (IHG) in San Pedro, which is adjacent to the Port of Los Angeles. When we checked in we were upgraded (due to my Platinum status with IHG,) to a suite with a view of the Port. Here is a photo of the port at sunrise. If you look just below the middle span of the bridge you can see the Jewel which had just docked.)
If you are cruising out of LA, please be aware that there are two cruise ports there. Most ships leave from the Port of Los Angeles in San Pedro. There is also the port in Long Beach a few miles away, which is used mainly by Carnival.
We had a pleasant stay at the Crowne Plaza, but no breakfast! You can walk from the hotel to many cafes and stores in San Pedro, if you need to pick up any supplies. I picked up a couple of breakfast burritos, but for once, I didn’t have to shop for wine, because we also had a comped beverage package (a lot more on this later!)
Norwegian has started assigning prescheduled boarding times. The only time slot available when we did on line check in was 2:00 to 2:30. We checked out of our hotel at noon and took the hotel shuttle to the port. We could have easily walked to the ship because we only had small carry on bags. When we got there we were directed into the check in line. Apparently the assigned boarding times are not enforced. It took us about an hour before we boarded the ship after we arrived at the pier.
We dropped our bags off in our cabin on deck 5. We were comped an outside cabin, and we were pleased with the amount of space we had. We had more than enough storage, and the bathroom was not too tiny– I appreciated that the toilet was separated off from the rest of the bathroom with a sliding glass door. We had our cabin attendant clean out our refrigerator (Again, this is habit because we’re usually putting wine in the fridge) and we went up to Deck 12 to visit the buffet in the Garden Cafe.
What a travesty that we were still full from our mediocre breakfast burritos, but we did manage to eat some fruit salad. We walked outside and I was so pleased to find seating outdoors just off the Cafe. This would be our meeting point for all meals that we would eat at the buffet, which were all breakfasts and lunches. We weaved our way down through the decks and found the Stardust Theater.
I believe that the ship sailed full, but there was always ample seating in the theater.
For me, the best feature of the ship was the promenade deck on Deck 7. I enjoy being able to walk all the way around the ship as I walk for exercise. I also like to have a place to go to get away from constant canned music and announcements. There is not a lot of seating on this deck, but this was not a factor on this sailing because the weather was not really warm enough for reading or hanging out during our sea days.
The pool deck contains two pools and five hot tubs, which were usually filled to capacity. One of the hot tubs is in a little splash area for small children which is located away from the other pools. The gazebo was used in its traditional role as the stage for the sail-away band and sexy legs contests et al.
I enjoyed and felt comfortable on the Jewel. Areas never seems crowded, and we never had to wait in lines. The ship is designed to facilitate flow of passengers.
Up next– Dining on the Jewel!