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Norwegian Jewel - NCL Norwegian Cruise Line - cruise ship review and photos

Our day at sea sees us getting up bright and early. After a hectic breakfast at the Garden Café we head up to the Pool Deck. Hit the deck!

Sapphire Pools
Sapphire Pools

With its über-tacky palm trees, brightly colored gazebo and water slide, the Sapphire Pool Deck is buzzing - even at this early hour. With the forward pool designated as adults-only, the many families on board congregate around the aft pool that faces the Pool Bar. And in true NCL fashion, there is even a "Poolside Casino"! 

Blue funnel and blue skies... Sports Court
Blue funnel and blue sky   Sports Court

I am pleasantly surprised to see that there is enough space for us in the sun, even on a fully booked ship. True, the Pool Deck is crowded, but one deck higher deck chairs are always available. And for a relatively quiet sun seeking session you can ascend to deck 14 where there's more space and less bustle.

Sapphire Pools A glass of wine on the balcony
Sapphire Pools   Time for wine

Performing every afternoon is Uprysin, the ships, resident Calypso Band. At all other hours, the same 30-minute tape is played. Over and over again. It's time to bring out the MP3 player!

Beautiful sunset
Beautiful sunset

Just before lunch clouds drift in and liquid sunshine starts falling down. People flock to the Garden Café in droves, making the place look like the cafeteria of your local IKEA store on a Saturday. It's too bad that the overcrowding makes us forget that the food served in the Garden Café is in in fact really, really good!

 

It's not until late in the afternoon that we see a speck of blue sky again. With the outside temperature hovering around 81F/28C, we are out on our balcony reading a book and enjoying a drink from our in-stateroom mini bar. Relax!

Le Bistro Le Bistro
Le Bistro   Le Bistro

After watching the spectacular sunset from our balcony we dress for dinner and set the dial next to our cabin door to "Turn Down Cabin" so that our personable Cabin Attendant Wilma ("Wilmaaaa!") from the Philippines can decorate our cabin with a variety of towel animals.  

Le Bistro
Le Bistro

We have made reservations at Le Bistro, NCL's French specialty restaurant. Located amidships on deck 6, Le Bistro has an Art Nouveau feel to it with its deep red velvet banquettes, French inspired artwork and subdued lighting.

Versace plates Mushroom soup served in a loaf of bread
Versace plate    Mushroom soup

At Le Bistro we clearly see the Freestyle Cruising concept at work. At the table next to ours, two couples are having dinner together. Halfway through dinner, their children come in. The kids obviously have enjoyed their dinner elsewhere. Probably somewhere where they served burger and fries instead of frog legs!

Shrimp-cruster salmon
Shrimp-crusted salmon

Having a French sister in law who is a very talented cook makes me spoilt for life when it comes to authentic French cuisine. After having dinner at Le Bistro, my conclusion is that NCL serves French food "à la American". My starter of scallops and crab is humongous, hardly leaving any room for more food. Still, I do manage to spoon out mushroom soup out of a loaf of bread before getting in trouble with the shrimp-crusted salmon. Not having the guts to say no to dessert,  I manage to digest a divine warm Tarte Tatin with vanilla ice cream. Phew!

     
 

Photos and text: © 2008 Bart de Boer - www.ShipParade.com

First published on May 12, 2008

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