Our Norwegian Jewel Review–Part 2–Dining Options

I was perfectly happy with the food on board the Norwegian Jewel.  We ate most of our breakfasts, lunches, and snacks in the Garden Cafe or the Great Outdoors, and then we chose one of the complimentary main dining rooms for dinner. We only had one truly disappointing dinner in the Chin Chin dining room.   We didn’t go to any of the restaurants that have a cover charge.

The Garden Cafe on deck 12 is the main buffet.  They generally serve American-style dishes like meatloaf, green beans, and macaroni and cheese on the two main stations.  There is always a huge hunk of meat being served from the carvery.  We saw roast beef, roast turkey, and ham.  There is one station that serves Asian and Indian food.  I found that I was enjoying the vegetarian Indian dishes whenever I ate at the buffet.  There is also a grill section where you can get hot dogs, hamburgers, thin steaks, chicken breasts, and sometimes salmon.  There is also pizza which we found mediocre.  My favorite dessert was the bread pudding with caramel sauce.  There is a soft-serve ice cream machine, but it was not very tasty.  Carnival has better pizza and ice cream.  There is a bar that serves sangrias and glasses of wine during lunch and dinner.  The Garden Cafe is open for lunch from 12:00 pm – 2:30 pm for lunch (until 3:00 pm on embarkation day) and from 5:00 pm-9:30 pm for dinner (opens at 4:30 pm on embarkation day.)

We were glad to see smoked salmon on the breakfast buffet.  Our go-to breakfast was smoked salmon slices, with onions and lemon, and fresh cut-up fruit.  Several times we had eggs cooked to order or omelettes.  The breakfast breads and pastries were not very appealing to us. Open 7:00am-10:30 am for breakfast.  The Garden Cafe shuts down at 9:00 am on debarkation day.

The Great Outdoors is a small outdoor buffet located all the way aft on deck 12.  They serve sandwiches, salads, grill items, chips and guacamole and desserts.  We found ourselves getting a snack or light meal there daily because it was open when the Garden Cafe was closed.  They are open from 2:30 pm- 5:00 pm, and from 9:30 pm- 10:30 or 11:00 pm.   Embarkation day hours were 12:00 pm- 3:00 pm.  They set up a mini version of the main breakfast buffet here from 8:00 am- 11:30 am.

Topsider’s Grill is the small buffet next to the pool area on deck 12.  They serve hot dogs, hamburgers and french fries, and perhaps a few other things.  They are open for lunch from 12:00 pm- 5:00 pm. (only until 3:00 on embarkation day.)  They also serve continental breakfast from 6:00 am- 10:00 am.

O’Sheehan’s  on deck 8 serves pub-style food.  We didn’t eat here at all until we had breakfast on debarkation day.  We’ve had excellent prime rib at O’Sheehan’s on the Breakaway, but on this trip we tended to eat fish or pasta so we stayed with the main dining rooms.  Open 6:00 am-11:00 am for breakfast,, 11:30 am-5:00 pm for lunch, and 5:30 pm- 8:30 pm for dinner.  According to the Freestyle Daily they have 24-hour snacks.  You can get a sit-down breakfast here on debarkation day until 9:30 am.

Tsar’s Palace is the large and elegant main dining room located on deck 7 aft.  It is a beautiful room with floor-to-ceiling windows on the stern side.  The walls are paneled with classical oil paintings of Russia’s tsars.  The staircase banister is decorated with replicas of the famous Faberge eggs.  I loved the decor in this room, and it was my favorite place for a sit-down dinner.  It apparently was decorated by the same designer who did the Summer Palace dining room on the Pearl.  I loved that dining room as well, but it made me a little sad every time I had dinner there.  Instead of portraits of the tsars, it is lined with oil paintings depicting the everyday life of the family of Nicholas and Alexandra.  If you know your Russian history, you may recall that they were murdered by the Bolsheviks during the Revolution.  On a happier note, we enjoyed most of our meals there and were always able to find something on the menu we liked.  I was always able to order a fish or seafood dish, and A. often got pasta.  Open 7:30 am- 9:30 am for breakfast, 12:00 pm-1:30 pm for lunch, and 5:00 pm-9:00 pm for dinner.

Azura is the other main dining room. It has a somewhat dark and sophisticated modern decor.  It shares a kitchen with the Tsar’s Palace, and therefore has the same menu.  We would eat dinner here if we were too late to dine in the Tsar’s Palace.  Open 5:00 pm- 9:30 pm.  We never ate dinner before 8:00 pm, and never had to wait at either restaurant for a table for two.

Chin Chin is the other complimentary dining venue, and I believe it shares a kitchen with the pay restaurant Teppanyaki.  We ate in Chin Chin one night, and it was our worst meal by far.  The calamari rings were heavy and greasy like onion rings, and my grilled shrimp was covered with a thick sweet sauce like you would get in a cheap Chinese take-out.  Open 5:00 pm – 9:30 pm.

As I said earlier, we didn’t eat in any of the “pay” restaurants, nor did we buy specialty coffees and pastries at Carlo’s Bake Shop on Deck 7 midship.

Here is the information for those from the Daily:

Carlo’s Bake Shop (a la carte)  8:00 am- 10:00 pm

La Cucina (Italian, a la carte) 5:30 pm- close

Le Bistro (French, al la carte) 5:30 pm-close

Moderno (Brazilian, $24.95) 5:30 pm- close

Sushi Bar (sushi!, a la carte)  5:30 pm- 7:00 pm

Teppanyaki (Japanese, $29.95) 4 seatings at 5:30 pm, 7:00 pm, 8:30 pm, 10:00 pm

Just about everyday there is a barbeque between the pool and the Topsider cafe.  The casino occasionally has snacks on offer.  You will not go hungry on this ship.  I can’t say that everything was fabulous and of gourmet quality, but there is a huge selection and I assure you that you will find food that you like. I found that all the venues are well-designed to avoid crowding.

Next– Trying to Maximize the Ultimate Beverage Package!

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