3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We chose this cruise based on its itinerary and it was very enjoyable. It was a first cruise for us (well, I had been on a cruise 28 years ago with a girlfriend but that was a long time ago) so we were not sure how we would enjoy this type ... Read More
We chose this cruise based on its itinerary and it was very enjoyable. It was a first cruise for us (well, I had been on a cruise 28 years ago with a girlfriend but that was a long time ago) so we were not sure how we would enjoy this type of travel. We did a lot of research and it paid off (mostly). FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO SEEMED SURPRISED BY ADDITIONAL COSTS, TENDERS AND OTHER MATTERS, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE SPEND SOME TIME ON RESEARCH! For example, by reading other reviews of cruisers, we knew that getting to Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City) and back in time would be difficult because of traffic and the timing of the ship's arrival and departure, so we took the NCL excursion. We were Haven Guests and were very grateful for the extra service (such as embarkation and disembarkation priority along with a reserved area for meals at breakfast and lunch) making our trip experience much better than many others, I am sure. What we didn't fully understand, though, was that being on deck 9 instead of 14 meant that we sometimes missed the true benefits of the Haven experience (such as having a butler and concierge ready to make things easier for us). Our butler and concierge were generally MIA unless we called and they both seem surprised that we hadn't asked to have something when we thought it would just be done (they only discovered that we were first time cruisers at the end of the trip and things might have been easier if we had volunteered that up front). There were a few other blips but we figured out what we needed to do in the first few days (and I did express my concerns to them) and we did get in tune with them after that. However, if you want to experience the full benefits of the Haven, I would recommend that you find a cabin/suite on Deck 14. Our cabin was right up front and the benefits of two balconies was wonderful, allowing us to have the best of both views and, while the noise of the anchor going up and down was clearly evident, it really didn't disturb us. Also, I am very prone to motion sickness and didn't feel the least bit queasy for the entire trip. We took mostly independent tours and they were, overall, excellent. There was one dud excursion which had more to do with the lack of English by the tour guide but we did hit all the sights. The tour into Bangkok using NCL was excellent, given that the guide was herding 32 people around but I cannot recommend the tour at the end of our trip into Singapore. We took the 4 hour tour ending at the airport and it was very expensive and certainly unimpressive. Dining was very hit and miss; Chin Chin was dreadful and La Cucina wasn't far behind. I would certainly not waste my money on La Cucina! Both service and the food was way below average. The first week seemed generally off for most of the entire dining areas - it was as if the waiters did not know what they were doing or where they should be at any one time. We were left waiting for several minutes without so much as a glass of water on a number of occasions and sometimes the food was not very warm when it arrived. A couple of very nice meals were had at Cagney's and Teppanyaki (go for the show, although the food was very good) but none of the meals made me feel that I had to go back. I admit I had expected better prepared food and the quality of the raw ingredients seemed lacking sometimes. The meal at Azura was very good and I would highly recommend going to the free sit down venues over the buffet (where a couple of times when we ventured in, we were horrified by the noise and people eating right beside the food - presumably so they could go back for more immediately. The fitness facility was good although I'm sure that it would have benefitted from some extra space. The free classes were generally well attended (or, on sea days, over attended) but the paid classes were almost empty. Internet was very poor but the guy at the Internet cafe was very helpful to get the most out of it. I must admit that I didn't pay enough attention to the small print and it was annoying that the service we had only applied to one device at a time! We had one unlimited service and two 250 minute services (that came as part of our package) so it was okay but I saved any big work on my computer for our days on shore when we could get 4G wifi service. Overall, we were very happy with our first cruise with Norwegian. They do seem to have worked out most of the problems with embarkation and disembarkation and tendering (at Koh Samui, for example, the ship was using commercial tender operations along with its own lifeboats) on this particular routing. This allowed for at least triple the numbers to get on the tender and the lineups were greatly reduced. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
We did a back to back to back Sydney to Yokohama so this review is for the last leg, Hong Kong to Yokohama. The Jewel is now quite old and in need of a refit but provides a good cruising experience with lounges and restaurants to suit all ... Read More
We did a back to back to back Sydney to Yokohama so this review is for the last leg, Hong Kong to Yokohama. The Jewel is now quite old and in need of a refit but provides a good cruising experience with lounges and restaurants to suit all tastes. Our inside cabin was adequate and our cabin steward did his best. Dining was generally good. The two main restaurants were fine, the buffet (Market cafe) often a scrum but the food was good. The speciality restaurants were good. Service was generally good, some outstanding, some poor. Entertainment became a bit samey but we were on the ship for 40 nights so that was to be expected. Ports on this leg of the cruise were great. We did not take any NCL excursions but seldom heard anything good from those who did take them so this is an area on this ship that NCL should look carefully at. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
We chose this cruise because of its itinerary (China & Japan were top of our list). Unfortunately, the itinerary changed several times before our departure, which took some of the shine off it (particularly the loss of an overnight ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of its itinerary (China & Japan were top of our list). Unfortunately, the itinerary changed several times before our departure, which took some of the shine off it (particularly the loss of an overnight stop at Beijing, which left us with very little time in between travelling from and to the port where the ship was docked), and the removal of a stop in South Korea (although this one was down to Chinese legislation) Embarkation was a bit of a nightmare, previous cruises we have been on, after checking in we have moved into a seperate 'holding area' waiting to board, but on this occasion everybody seemed to be hanging around together, making things rather confusing, blocking routes, etc. Once onboard things did improve, with the good points being as follows:- The public areas were always clean, the entertainment was very good compared to other cruises we have been on, and the bars and restaurants were plentiful and well stocked. One huge plus was the freedom dining, which allowed us to eat at whatever time we desired, with quite a few options to choose from (we were a group of 4 and we only had to wait once for a table, and that was for less than 10 minutes at one of the smaller complimentary restaurants). However, there were some negatives, as follows:- We had pre-booked some speciality restaurants prior to the cruise, but when we attended our first booking we were told that ALL online reservations had been lost (somewhere in cyber space no doubt). They did accommodate us on that first date, but only after a 40 minute wait and a gentle reminder from me that we were still waiting for a table. This first visit to was 3 days into the cruise, surely they would have known by that time that there was a problem with online reservations, and surely they could have made some sort of announcement...?? (our other reservations were re-booked, and all 4 restaurants we ate in were excellent, so no complaints after that initial problem) Some of the bar staff were a little rude, especially when my wife went to the bar (we have never come accross this on previous cruises, where 99.9% of bar staff have been brilliant) and a few of the customer service staff were even worse (not very helpful at all, in fact) The cabin, although adequate, was difficult to manouevre around, and the overhead bunk was a nightmare for me as I banged my shoulder on it many times when getting out of bed, despite it being 'stowed away'. The cruise ship's policy for passing through customs in Japan left a lot to be desired. It was explained through a flyer that every passenger required a 'face to face' inspection with a customs officer (pretty standard stuff at most ports, airports etc, you'd think). but the ship decided it was so complicated, we were to disembark at our first stop at pre-determined intervals, starting with the upper decks and working down to the lower decks. Great if your cabin was on deck 13 or 14, not so great if your cabin was on deck 5, like ours. If we had stuck to the ships plan, we would have been doing our 'face to face' (i.e. going through customs) over 2 and a half hours after the first passengers were allowed off. As we had pre-booked a private tour (costing a lot of money) I visited customer services to inform them that our party WOULD be leaving the boat at the time we had agreed to meet our tour guide (i.e. the time which NCL had said we would be docking at the port and allowing people off). After declining a 'free phonecall' to our guide to say we would be over 2 hours late, followed by several visits to the desk, and a refusal to give in (hence the comment earlier about the unhelpful staff) it was agreed to let us off earlier than our 'scheduled' time (but we were asked not to advertise the fact, so as not to upset other passengers on lower decks I presume!). One other thing, which didn't affect us but needs mentioning, was the lack of information provided by NCL prior to the cruise with regards visas. Fortunately we had done some research beforehand, and knew we needed visas, but there were several people onboard who could not leave the boat whilst in China because they didn't. One couple, we heard, were in their 80's and it had been their lifelong ambition to visit China but, because they were unaware that a visa was required, they had to stay on the boat. We also heard that another couple had even been turned away at the airport, so they didn't even get to go on the cruise. Can't say for certain if these stories are true, but I do know there were an awful lot of people stuck onboard while we were in China. Now it could be said that it was the passengers fault for not doing their research (and I agree to a certain extent), but we did a cruise last year to Thailand and Vietnam (similar countries to China and Japan in my opinion) and all the visas for that trip were sorted by the cruise ship (we just had to deposit our passports, and our cruise card effectively became our visa and passport). To be truthfully honest, I thought it would be exactly the same on this cruise, and it was only through a stroke of luck that we discovered a visa for China was required, otherwise we would have also been trapped onboard. So I can fully understand why some people may have not known they needed a visa. Surely an email from NCL a month or two before the cruise would easily have solved this problem, or at least made everybody aware? I've rambled on about the negatives but to be honest, we still had a fabulous time, and the cruise ship was generally great. Nothing is ever perfect, but most of the issues above could have been avoided, which would have made this cruise almost ... Read Less
Norwegian Jewel Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 4.1
Dining 4.0 3.8
Entertainment 4.0 4.1
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family 4.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.8
Enrichment 1.0 3.4
Service 3.0 4.1
Value For Money 4.0 3.8
Rates 3.0 4.1

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