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

If you happen to be the creator of a website called "ShipParade", being caught up in a small Caribbean port with four large cruise ships is definitely an added bonus.

Ships towering over St. John's, Antigua Steel band and hull art
Ships towering over St. John's   Steel band and hull art

My camera shutter is doing overtime as Norwegian Jewel slowly approaches the pier at St. John's, Antigua on this first day in April. With us in port are Serenade of the Seas, Emerald Princess and Legend of the Seas and seeing an estimated 8,000 people crowd the small town of St. John's makes you wonder where the cruise industry is heading.

A true "ShipParade" at Antigua
A true "Ship Parade" at Antigua

Apart from Lucy's hot stone massage at 1.30 PM, we haven't planned anything today. So after breakfast we slowly make our way ashore and admire the enormous floating cities that seem to have come at a standstill only a few feet from the waterfront. It's a bit like the movie "Speed 2"...

St. John's, Antigua Vegetable and fruit stall
Downtown St. John's   Local produce galore

Interestingly, a walk around St. John's reveals that this town is quite capable of handling large numbers of tourists. The waterfront area, though touristy, is actually quite nice and the main shopping street is convenient for anyone looking to buy jewelry and other touristy things.

A Jewel and a Legend
A Jewel and a Legend

But once clear from the tourist zone, we discover a different St. John's that we like even better. We venture to the local fish and vegetable markets, talk to merchants and Rastafarians and generally get a feeling for the real Antigua. 

St. John's waterfront St. John's waterfront
St. John's waterfront   St. John's waterfront

Still, the tourist part of St. John's has its charms, too. We discover some pretty nice shops that sell local artifacts. And with the US Dollar being at an all-time low for us Europeans, shopping suddenly becomes really interesting.

 

My camera once again goes into overdrive mode as Norwegian Jewel makes its way out of the St. John's harbor in the evening light, leaving the Princess and the two "of the Seas" behind. After turning around, our ship heads for the open seas. Once clear of the island, Norwegian Jewel starts a gentle rock 'n roll as the breeze stiffens.

Setting sail from Antigua
Setting sail from Antigua

Before the cruise, Lucy and I made a solemn promise to try as many restaurants on board. So tonight we head up to deck 13 to discover what Cagney's Steakhouse has to offer. Cagney's is actually divided into two separate restaurants, both serving the same menu at night. Tonight it's all about meat, meat ... and a little seafood. 

Bart, Al and a colossal shrimp cocktail Cagney's Steakhouse
Bart, Al and a shrimp cocktail   Cagney's Steakhouse

Cagney's forward section is reached though the Star Bar and has floor to ceiling windows overlooking the pool deck. It is here that occupants of the many lavish suites on board are invited to enjoy an exclusive deluxe breakfast and lunch every day. 

Star Bar Cagney's Steakhouse
Star Bar   Cagney's Steakhouse

The aft section of Cagney's is a little cozier, with its open galley and intriguing artwork. When reporting for dinner duty, Lucy and I are shown an intimate corner table here - perfect! The menu features steaks in all shapes and sizes, with the most extravagant items costing a little extra (over the standard Cagney's surcharge).

Cagney's Steakhouse Surf 'n Turf with Cagney's fries
Cagney's Steakhouse   Surf 'n Turf

My shrimp starter is ... as the menu says ... giant and my Surf 'n Turf main course is served with delicious Cagney's fries. Our dining experience at Cagney's could not be better. And isn't this the fun of Freestyle Cruising? Choosing a new restaurant every night is part of the uniqueness of this cruise. We love it!

Cagney's Steakhouse
Cagney's Steakhouse
     
 

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

First published on May 12, 2008

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