norwegian jewel - ncl norwegian cruise line - cruise ship review & photos

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

It was in the middle of a bleak Dutch winter that my friend Lucy and I got that "I need sunshine NOW" feeling. We decided that it was our turn to soak up on some Caribbean sunshine.  

Norwegian Jewel at Castries, St. Lucia
Norwegian Jewel at Castries, St. Lucia

Attracted to NCL's Freestyle Cruising concept with a choice of dining venues and no formal nights, our choice was an easy one. NCL offers a great 9-day Southern Caribbean itinerary from Miami. So on March 27, 2008 we set off from Amsterdam. We spent one night in a hotel in Coconut Grove before heading for NCL's Norwegian Jewel and our Freestyle vacaction.

Freestyle Cruising Who smashed the champagne bottle!?
Freestyle Cruising   Christening bottle
Cruise Line: Norwegian Cruise Line
Built: 2005
Building Yard: Meyer Werft, Germany
Gross Tonnage: 93,502
Length: 294.1 m (964.9 ft)
Beam: 32.2 m (105.6 ft)
Passengers (norm.): 2,376
Passengers (max): 4,080
Crew: 1,154
Service speed: 24.0 knots
Itinerary - click to enlarge
9-day Southern Caribbean cruise - click picture to enlarge

From 2002 onwards, NCL's gradually replaced its mid-sized fleet with brand new, large, colorful floating resorts that are custom-made for the line's innovative "Freestyle Cruising" concept. 

Hull art - love it or hate it Norwegian Jewel at Antigua
Striking hull art   Norwegian Jewel at Antigua

Forget all about formal nights and assigned dining room seating. Offering up to 11 restaurants, with large casinos,  extensive kids facilities and a brash, playful image, NCL has managed to single-handedly change the face of the cruise industry. Devoid of any old-world 'cruise glitz', Norwegian Jewel and her sisters are the closest you get to an all-inclusive family resort vacation at sea.

Norwegian Jewel at Road Town, Tortola
Norwegian Jewel at Road Town, Tortola

Norwegian Jewel happens to be fully booked on our 9-night cruise in late March. Out of 2,800 passengers, no less than 1,000 turn out to be under the age of 21. So, what will it be like? Let's quickly hop over to Miami where Norwegian Jewel is waiting for us!


All photos and text: 2008 Bart de Boer -

First published on May 12, 2008

Amenities, decor, charges and services may have changed since this article was written

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