Our final image in this series is of the Norwegian Jewel, the cruise ship we sailed on in October 2016.
This particular shot was taken from on board a ‘tender boat’ as we disembarked for the day in Cabo San Lucas, our final port-of-call on our Mexican Riviera cruise.
I’d like to say that we sailed on board the Jewel to check her out before she comes down under for a season next year – but that would be a lie.
In fact, we were heading for the west coast of the US for a road trip, to see my daughter and son-in-law – and as part of our planning, I spotted a good deal for a Mexican cruise leaving Los Angeles. So we decided to grab it.
It was the first time that we’d sailed with Norwegian – and the first time we’d sailed with a US-based cruise-line out of the US.
So far we’d sailed with P&O, Carnival twice, and Princess (which had all been “Aussified”), with Royal Caribbean (which felt quite American) and with MSC which was quintessentially Italian 🙂
So it was interesting to notice the differences.
Overall, the Norwegian Jewel was like any other ship we had sailed on – at 2400 passengers, it was a bit larger than most, a little smaller than one.
But it is much newer than most ships that sail ‘down under’ – 15 years younger than the venerable Pacific Dawn, and 10 years younger than the Sun Princess and the Legend of the Seas.
One of the interesting things about Norwegian is that they style themselves as “Freestyle Cruising” – so there are no formal sitting times in the dining room, for example, and it’s rare to see men in tuxedos (although many, like me, wore a dinner-suit, or at least a shirt-and-tie.)
Also interesting – particularly for an Aussie – is that you simply cannot opt out of the compulsory daily tip. Most cruise lines will allow you to do so, if you feel that strongly about it … but the option simply wasn’t available on the Jewel.
So, effectively, on a 7 night cruise, each fare is actually $US100 more than you are told.
Now, I would not have removed the daily service charge even if I had the option – but as someone from a country where tipping is NOT the norm, it struck me as .. interesting 🙂
I was also interested to note that smoking is allowed in the casino (again, unlike ships sailing in and out of Australia). It was rare that we went through the casino – and when it did, it was a case of “hold your breath and just keep going” 🙂
And finally, as part of the deal we got with our cruise tickets, we had an unlimited drinks package.
We’d briefly looked at getting one of those on previous cruises – but felt we would never get our money’s worth.
And we were right.
I estimate that we each drank an average of three drinks each day on the cruise (plus a handful of soft-drinks) – which would have cost us about $US35-$US50/day – well under the $US80/day that Norwegian charges.
But I also have to say, it was nice to not even have to think about it – so I won’t turn it down if a cruise line wants to throw it in for free again in the future 🙂
Would I travel with Norwegian again?
Yeah, why not? But then again, I’ve yet to come across a cruise line where I wouldn’t 🙂