1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
My wife and I chose this cruise because of the itinerary and the add on pre cruise tour of Cambodia. Embarkation was smooth and efficient. Once onboard we were told an announcement would be broadcast when our cabins were ready. After a ... Read More
My wife and I chose this cruise because of the itinerary and the add on pre cruise tour of Cambodia. Embarkation was smooth and efficient. Once onboard we were told an announcement would be broadcast when our cabins were ready. After a bit of exploring we went to the buffet for a drink and a snack. Much the same as all other buffets people piling plates like it was to be their last meal and difficult to find a seat. No announcement came so we went looking to find our cabin was ready. The room was clean and tidy but a bit on the small side to other cabins and rather less storage. The balcony was also on the small side and a bit scruffy. My wife's luggage turned up fairly prompt but no sign of mine so off we went exploring and to have a cocktail or two. Time for dinner and still no luggage. I informed our cabin steward who said she would go and find out where it was. We didn't see her again until 3 days later when she said hello and asked how we were. The next time was our last night when she asked us to fill out a card that chose a crew member who excelled. So it was off to dinner in the clothes I had been wearing all day. Dinner was ok but nothing to brag about. Back to the cabin still no luggage so off to customer services. I told them of the problem and rather offhandedly the lady asked me if I had checked the luggage room. when I replied no I though luggage was always delivered to the staterooms. She said I should have checked there. Keep calm I told myself. I had to ask her where it was and made my way there. I located my case in the said room and was told it had been held back because there was a pair of scissors in my case. I had to get the scissors out and show them and was then told they were ok and I could take my case. This was now 9.00pm. My wife asked them why the information had not been sent to our room instead of us having to go round investigating. Norwegians customer experience is slowly going down the pan. Dining was not a great experience. We used Azure once and thought the room was dark and the low ceiling made it feel too compact and the meal was average but service was very good. Chin Chin was bright and cheerful and the meal was excellent as was the service. The other nights we had dinner in the Tsars Palace. This is a very delightful room, bright, spacious and luxurious. Service was ok most nights but there were some excellent waiters. The meals were quite mediocre and didn't live up to the opulence of the room. One night I had a lamb shank that was served with a slice of carrot and half a roast potato. I am not a huge eater but this was a bit ridiculous. Another night we ordered Irish coffees and as soon as they arrived we could see they were not right. The cream had all dissolved into the coffee, we picked them up and they were cold. We told the waiter who took them away and replaced them. The replacements weren't cold but slightly warm. We just left them. We told our waiter the following night and he told us they had run out of the whipped cream and were using powdered cream. He told us he would personally make coffees for us. The ones he made were very good. We found a lot of the meals we had were very average and quite often they were only warm. This was the only cruise where I only had one cooked breakfast due to the first one being lukewarm. The rest of the time it was toast, fruit and cereals. Bar service in general was very good except for when they ran out of mint for the mojitos. There was only one night where the entertainment was excellent. This was the Circus act. Some of the acrobatics were spectacular. The rock night was enjoyable. Two of the nights had solo female singers who I thought we just ok. The other night was not my scene at all with some very weird artists. the strangest being one huge overweight guy dancing in a leotard. It made me wonder why females have to cover their breasts when this guy had bigger breasts than some of the girls and he had them swinging about everywhere. But he was well received but not by me. The resident band were very good and performed a wide variety of songs. I cant comment on the activities on board as we only had one sea day so didn't explore. Cant comment on excursions either as we planned our own. We could not find any information on the ports we visited. This was our first Norwegian cruise and we found nothing that would make us want to cruise with them again Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
I booked this cruise on a whim because it had a single rate of around $700 for a week cruise and I thought that included the beverage package. After looking into it I realised that my cabin category didn’t include the drink package so ... Read More
I booked this cruise on a whim because it had a single rate of around $700 for a week cruise and I thought that included the beverage package. After looking into it I realised that my cabin category didn’t include the drink package so upgraded to that. With the new fare, the gratuities, the 20% for the drink package and the taxes, it came to over $1,400. I would have canceled except for Norwegian’s strict cancelation policy. I thought, oh well, I’ll just go. I had not been on Norwegian since the Norway almost 20 years ago and was interested to see how it was now. The extensive dry-dock done in late 2018 made the ship much more to my liking since I have mostly cruised on Celebrity. In fact, my favourite ship of all my 22 cruises was the Millennium so since the Jewel was about the same size I thought I might like it. I arrived at the port about 12:30 pm and it looked pretty crowded. I was pleased at how fast it actually went after I got in line and I was on the ship by 1 pm! My first impression was of the Crystal Atrium. Although attractive, a 2 deck high atrium is not exactly impressive and it was mobbed with people. The cabins were ready by 1:30 and when I checked out my inside cabin, 4579, it was fine, tiny, but fine. I was disappointed that I never actually met my cabin steward though. I don’t really like only having the bed as a place to sit but since I was alone in the cabin I used one as a sofa and one as a bed. As others have pointed out, the toilet is as an awkward angle which made you sit on it sideways. The shower, with a door, was probably the nicest I have ever had though. My impressions of the ship were mostly positive and I liked the decor. I found the Garden Cafe to be extremely chaotic though and I never once ate there. I did find the Great Outdoors at the back of the ship to be delightful and never had a problem getting a table and used the small buffet out there. The public rooms were attractive but I didn’t like the layout of the ship without a circular rotation possible on most decks. I found the food to be good to excellent and enjoyed 4 nights of specialty dining, which was outstanding. I thought the entertainment was of high quality too with excellent singers and dancers. I was a tad concerned that with so many having the drink package that getting a drink might be an issue. I have to say that I never once had a problem getting a drink and found the bar staff to be excellent. I didn’t do this cruise for the ports as I have sailed this same itinerary twice before already and didn’t get off the ship. I usually like to enjoy a bit of less crowded, quieter time while everyone is off on shore excursions but I was surprised at how many people didn’t get off the ship. The muster drill was the best ever and held in Le Bistro for me. No need to wear the life jackets and we could sit down through the whole thing in air-conditioning. My main complaint, which won’t affect many people, is as a smoker, they only designate a small portion of the Pit Stop for smokers. It was always mobbed but since I vape I could sit at the railing overlooking the pool which was much nicer. The only other smoking area besides the casino was on deck 7 port side outside. It was less crowded but with almost no seating. Th cruise was a party atmosphere which was fun and I met many delightful people from all over the world. I would consider cruising with Norwegian again but will probably stick with Celebrity or Royal Caribbean in the future. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary although we had been to all of the countries that were on the itinerary as recent as on a river cruise in 2017 to Viet Nam and Cambodia. The embarkation took 2 1/2 hours of which was the ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary although we had been to all of the countries that were on the itinerary as recent as on a river cruise in 2017 to Viet Nam and Cambodia. The embarkation took 2 1/2 hours of which was the longest embark that we had to endure after a long flight from US to Hong Kong one day prior. We were tired and hungry, but all of the restaurants were closed by the time we got on board because it was time for Muster. Our package included premium beverage, four specialty dining restaurants, unlimited internet, which was nice although the internet was crawling most of the time, and 120 free phone calls of which we used 55 minutes. We were extremely dissapponted to find out that we had to pay NCL $69 each to get a Viet Nam Visa and $89 each for a Cambodia Visa at embark. Of course, we were not aware of getting visas in advance because we planned not to get off in Cambodia because the ship only port one day there, and because we were in Cambodia 2017. The River Cruise Company advised us in advance that we had to get visa for Nam and Cambodia, but NCL did not. Moreover, Viet Nam charges $25 for its Visa; Cambodia charges $30, and it took us less than 5 weeks to get both visa. NCL charged $69 and $89, 3x the charge??? When several passengers asked the crews at the reception, one said because it was an emergency visas; other said to me because they “are merchant” visas. I pointed to that crew member the Viet Nam visa that was stapled to my passports in 2017 indicating that was a “merchant” visa, too, yet, I didn’t have to pay $69 and I got to keep the visa. I don’t know if that crew member got trained appropriately or he thought he could fool me into believing his feeble infor. On this trip, we had to turn in our Nam Visa on the last port day in Nam. So for those who want to keep it for souvenir are of our luck! The food in the Specialty Dining Restaurants was mediocre and poor in some instances. The restaurants’ staffs seemed trying but the execution was poor. At Cagney’s Steak house, I asked for a medium rare filet mignon, it came out rare. The server took it back, the kitchen recooked the steak that I already cut into instead of giving me a new one. What happened if I were sick with a cold or have some kind of contagious illness? Some thoughts for the management. Another incident at Chin Chin, Asian Fusion Restaurant, a line item on the menu, “Chinese Chicken...” one of the passengers asked the server, “what is Chinese Chicken?” The server responded with a laugh, “may be it’s small...” He then apologized later knowing what he said was inappropriate. Note for NCL management, there should be no Chinese Chickens, no American Chickens, and etc...on the menu. There were many more that we could name. In summary, we have cruised many times on large cruise ships and many more on river cruise ships, our experiences were better than NCL, which was our first time. We are not so sure if we want to give NCL a second chance! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We chose this cruise based primarily on the itinerary. In summary we had a good vacation despite a few notable shortcomings with Norwegian. We found the ship to be very relaxing with a good mix of entertainment options, public spaces like ... Read More
We chose this cruise based primarily on the itinerary. In summary we had a good vacation despite a few notable shortcomings with Norwegian. We found the ship to be very relaxing with a good mix of entertainment options, public spaces like casino, bars, pool, etc; and nice private spaces - our stateroom was the perfect size for our family of 3 (larger than the Celebrity cruise we took a few years back). Service onboard was generally adequate. Many guest facing folks were nice, and enthusiastic. However, there was a higher proportion of staff on this cruise who simply weren't as friendly as they should have been. Specialty restaurant waitstaff were generally underwhelming. Front desk / reception was a challenge (they were not able to help on really the only 2 issues that came up for us). Not only could they not help, but they definitely did not display empathy nor the desire to go out of their way to come up with creative solutions. Check-in in Hong Kong was not as described - we arrived around 12:30 and were issued a queue number, ended up waiting about 2 hours to get checked in and onboard. Once we were called to check in, the process was quick and efficient. I was surprised and uncomfortable with the fact that they collected our passports (and kept them) at the boarding door. I don't think this was communicated ahead of time, and in general was not something I felt good about. When I asked why this was happening, the woman literally laughed at me - perhaps a language/culture barrier problem but off-putting nonetheless. Food - was OK, definitely a mixed bag. Leathery bacon at the buffet - consistently. Ice cream machines that couldn't keep up with demand (serving liquidy soft serve). Chin Chin's was in general not tasty (we ordered 5 different entrees among 4 adults) and the only one that tasted good was the sweet/sour pork. Cagney's steak was supremely disappointing - meat quality was mid-market grocery store level (think safeway or albertson's "choice" cuts). The silver lining in this cloud was the notion that since the food wasn't great, we didn't overeat. Ever. I overheard other adults making similar statements. With about 3 days remaining onboard, we found there were some things they were running out of. No pineapple at the buffet. No lemons for iced tea. No sprinkles for ice cream. These seem like small things, but they are the little things that make a vacation great or less-than-great. Excursions - the selection was a bit thin. Too many similar outings to temples across the various ports. Would have been nice to have a few more cultural viewpoints that were more diversified. Also, our experience in Cambodia was not good - a beach with no amenities and a market with no amenities. Other tours were too limited in availability and we did not get our reservation in on time. The brightest shining stars on this cruise: 1) The cabin was large (we had a mini suite balcony - essentially one room with a curtain divider between the bed and the pull-out sofabed). Much nicer than our previous experience on Celebrity. The fact that it has recently been renewed I think helped. 2) Our 6-year old absolutely loved the Kids Club. We literally couldn't pull her away. The staff were all amazing, engaging, fun. Lots of great activities. This was our first Norwegian cruise and while we didn't hate it, they also didn't make a good enough impression on us to convince us to stop trying new cruise lines. Our next cruise likely won't be with Norwegian. Read Less
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
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We are a couple in our 70's and this was our first cruise. Having spent 4 hectic days in Singapore a really great place with loads to do, we looked forward to some quiet time before setting off on our excursions in Thailand, ... Read More
We are a couple in our 70's and this was our first cruise. Having spent 4 hectic days in Singapore a really great place with loads to do, we looked forward to some quiet time before setting off on our excursions in Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. Quiet time was to prove a challenge on Ncl Jewel. The endless loud music all over the ship was not what we needed, but to be fair it probably suited some guests. Our cabin was always kept clean and tidy by our steward a lovely girl always chatty and with a smile on her face. A lesson yet to be learnt by the staff in the Asian restaurant who can only be described as rude, one visit was enough, bad manners and indifferent food ensured we didn't return. Dining is a big part of any holiday, but the buffet restaurant experience was not for us, the endless search for a table and high noise levels plus guests prodding the food (sometimes with their fingers) resulted in us referring to it as the zoo. However refuge was found in the two main dining rooms, Tzars and Azurs and served at the table, a much more pleasant way to enjoy a meal in the evening. A good place for breakfast is the American diner on deck 8, again served at the table with nice views of the ocean. The entertainment was mixed some 5* some not so good you just need to pick and choose a bit. Shore excursions provided by the ship are vastly overpriced we only used them once, it was probably the worst trip of our holiday. We used other providers who charged about half the prices and went the extra mile to give us excellent experiences. Top tip if going to Cambodia and you are a UK citizen get your visa before you go. We paid £30 for ours Ncl were charging people $US89 total rip off. The most worrying thing about this cruise was the fiasco with the tendering on Koh Samui. Much has already been written about this by other guests all of which I endorse. I have to add that we felt it was nothing short of dangerous the way the situation was left to deteriorate by NCL. One would think that anyone working for a cruise line would understand that tides go in and out on a set basis that can be predicted years ahead and not just left to chance on the day. As mentioned earlier we are in our 70's and got separated in the crush on the quay side, I am only 5ft tall and could not see what was going on and it was not nice being constantly pushed from behind by the frustrated mob. It is fortunate that nobody ended up injured or being pushed down the stone steps. BADLY DONE NCL you should be ashamed of yourselves. A mixed bag, would we cruise again? Possibly. Would we use NCL probably not, how to get every last penny out of their guests seems to be their mantra. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Good: Interesting itinerary in Asia. Interesting mix of nationalities and personalities on cruise. Cabin 9042 clean, pleasant, well located, efficient steward.and everything worked. Plenty of food, some very good (but avoid peak ... Read More
Good: Interesting itinerary in Asia. Interesting mix of nationalities and personalities on cruise. Cabin 9042 clean, pleasant, well located, efficient steward.and everything worked. Plenty of food, some very good (but avoid peak meal times). Variety of venues even without premium charges. Plenty of live music, some very good. Prism a versatile group of good musicians. Most 'hotel' staff friendly and helpful. There were quiet deck areas with space on higher decks (though not near pools). Bad: Excursion quality dodgy and value poor, specially 1 day tour of Saigon traffic jams. The presidential papace was a people jam as a change from traffic. The Buddist temple was the best break from chaos. The lacquerware shop was a waste of time where the main attraction was the chance to use the toilet. Took until 11.45 to get ashore on tender day. Crushes at embarkation (Singapore) and disembarkation (Hong Kong) unpleasant and would probably be illegal for livestock. Customer relations experience variable with sometimes contradictory information. E.g. first contact suggested I write a problem down, second said there was no point in writing and there was nothing for him to do with a written complaint. Ugly There is always a trade-off between treating guests as humans or as credit cards to be maxxed out. The balance here was skewed by high pricing to exploit monopoly power and particularly by making overpriced visas compulsory for guests not going ashore (though website only said visas needed to go ashore). Probably legally dodgy under UK/EU consumer law. Enough to deter us from using NCL again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
We are two 50 something sisters on our first trip to Asia. The Jewel was perfect for us with many activities on board that appealed to each of us. One sister is a Vegan and we were introduced to our pre-order contact the first night. ... Read More
We are two 50 something sisters on our first trip to Asia. The Jewel was perfect for us with many activities on board that appealed to each of us. One sister is a Vegan and we were introduced to our pre-order contact the first night. Joy was fantastic and although he had many special diet parties on board, he took the time to customize our pre-orders. The only bad dish we had was in La Cucina and it was the risotto dish from the menu - it was so salty it was inedible. We've read the other reviews and were not dissapointed in this cruise at all. The service was fine. The shore excursions we took were fine and we took advantage of the Shore-ex credit and the beverage package. With the hot weather, we did buy a lot of bottled water - which does add up cost wise. Embarkation involved several lines, but check in with NCL went quickly. The Singapore immigration line moved at a snails pace which of course is out of NCL'[s control. We had lunch in the MDR and our room was ready at about 1:00pm. One of our bags didn't show up before dinner so I went looking for it. It was in a holding room because my contact lens liquids were thought to be cans of beer - ha! Previous Cruise Critic reviews and our roll call were both a wealth of information - so we were not surprised by the charges for the Vietnam and Cambodian visas. We chose not to get them directly from the California embassies. We also knew that Ha Long Bay was no longer a tender port because a new international pier had opened several months ago. We also knew that Koh Samui was the only tender port and that 2 other 2,000 passenger ships were in that day. When NCL cancelled the shore excursion we had booked, we found a private tour and were concerned about meeting on time. Again, Cruise Critic helped us out. We went to the Meet & Greet the day before and were informed that there would be 6 lifeboat tenders. A member from the previous cruise from Sydney asked about Latitudes assistance and the officers contacted Cruise Next staff to make it happen. We met early and this is the only reason we made our private tour and were back just before the return tender problems. The tender problems in Koh Samui were very poorly handled. When we saw local tenders and ship tenders still coming back at 6:30, we knew it was bad news. What we heard from others was terrible. Standing in that heat on a pier for 3 hours is inexcusable. As others have noted in their reviews, the Captain didn't address the issue until two nights later and basically said it was up to the port, not his fault. And that at our last port we would stay an extra hour until 9:00pm. Ridiculous. On our second Thailand shore excursion, we went to Pattaya where the main attraction is the Sanctuary of Truth. It was good, but we had to endure a local guide instead of our shore ex guide. Then we were taken to a jeweler mall to shop. This should have been disclosed. It was a complete waste of time, but was air conditioned. The shore ex manager's response was that all Thailand tours go to jewelry malls just like carpet factories in Turkey. Huh, we were on a tour in Bangkok the day before and no jewelry mall. Singapore and Ha Long Bay were the highlights of the cruise. We took the ship junk cruise excursion and thought it was a great value. We also had a fantastic local guide on the boat. The junks met up at the ship instead of on the pier. We went in the afternoon, which seemed to be a bit less hectic than what we saw in the morning. Best tip for this port, is to be up early when the ship sails through the bay - magical. As others have mentioned, the production show were great. The Thai show was good as was Frenchie Davis. Karaoke was fun the first couple of nights. The other music acts in the bars were not as good as on other NCL ships, but the show band was quite good. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
NCL Jewel South East Asia March 2019 - 12 day cruise. We are a couple from Montreal, Canada and travelling with a 6-yr old who enjoys adventure and travel as much as we do. This is not our first cruise, but first time on an NCL cruise. ... Read More
NCL Jewel South East Asia March 2019 - 12 day cruise. We are a couple from Montreal, Canada and travelling with a 6-yr old who enjoys adventure and travel as much as we do. This is not our first cruise, but first time on an NCL cruise. TRAVEL AGENCY We booked this cruise through a travel agency thinking that there could be some benefits that we could not otherwise access. None that I can see, but $100 to open our files. Once I gave my credit card info, my stateroom was booked, at the very front of the ship ( yes - the bow, and steps further ahead you are in the ocean) without my knowledge. I have just read an interesting article going over one of the most exciting step in the cruise is finding and booking the stateroom. Well not for us, and could do nothing to change it, without paying extra. This is a 294m ship long, with the buffet restaurant at the other end of the ship, and most other activities in mid-ship. This became, by default, our daily walking exercise. The last 2 days of the cruise, the ship was going through rough seas and I can tell you that it was not pleasant to be at either end of the ship. We opted to prepay the ship service charge and going for the unlimited beverage package, to avoid the pressure of thinking twice before ordering drinks. This package does not include freshly pressed fruit juices, bottled water or alcoholic drinks over US$15. RESEARCH I must have spent 100's of hours planning, researching and documenting to plan for this NCL South East Asia cruise. Info that I extracted from internet is very fragmented, incomplete, and at times contradictory. Many coming from some arrogant contributors. SOME TIPS Things that we brought along 1. Travel Adaptors (Canada uses 110-120V, Far East 220-240V) Just make sure that your electronic devices are dual voltage. The Adaptor is just a device to make your electronics fit in the holes. Adaptors are not power converters. 2. Battery Chargers (must be with your carry on, NOT allowed in checked-in Luggage) 3. Spare unlocked smart phone (used as hotspot for other devices and laptops to connect to ) 4. Photocopy Passport ( 40cs colour copy at Office Depot). NCL keeps all Passports and return them on the day prior to final destination. You will need a copy of your passport if you buy a SIM card. If crumpled, difficult for the SIM card cashier to scan to complete your purchase). If offshore and requested by local authorities, you need to show your room card key and a govt picture ID. This is where the copy passport also comes in handy. 5. Deet Insect Repellent. We got bitten just once (luckily!) close to the docks at dusk. 6. Roll of toilet paper (off shore excursions). 7. Singapore $300 in cash (CAD306) for 2 days. 8. Thai Bhat 8,000 in cash (CAD365) for 2 days 9. Hong Kong $4,000 in cash (CAD706) for 4 days. We did self-guided tours for Singapore, Thailand and Hong Kong. You can certainly use less cash and more credit. We used credit cards for hotels/lodgings and higher value purchases in reliable establishments. Canadians do not need visa for these 3 countries above. For Cambodia and Vietnam, while self-guided tours are possible, if you stay close to the Port, we opted to book local tour guides to play it safe. PRE-PLANNING We online ordered a SIM card (Smart Comfort - SIM Card Asia) from SIM OPTIONS for US$39.90 + 9.90 = US$49.80 (CAD$68.45) delivered to our Hotel in Singapore. This gives us 12GB internet, 3G+ connection, valid for 30 days from first use, plug and play and valid for Singapore, Vietnam and Hongkong. The card will barely work where the ship docks, with fluctuating on-off signals. On land, and just simple emails, you would be ok. I am used to 135Mbps download speed at home, and that SIM card speed is nowhere comparable, but nevertheless acceptable and useful when on shore. If you find the speed too slow, relatively easy to buy sim in all 3 countries above. Singapore sells the 3-day sim at 7-11 convenience store (they all speak English) for S$13. I bought a sim in Phu My, Vietnam at a phone store, 10 mins taxi ride from the cruise port, for 140,000 VD (CAD$8). I wanted their fastest data SIM card for minimum of 3 days. Could not get myself understood, even with the help of Google Translate on my phone. My taxi driver with his very limited English, rescued me. They did not accept payment in US$. Once again, driver came to the rescue and lent me local money. HEADING TOWARDS CRUISE From our hotel in Singapore, we took a taxi to the Marina Cruise Centre. If you let Hotel concierge book the taxi for you, they do not tell you that there is a S$2 fee to your cab fares. Lots of taxis coming in to drop passengers off, all the time, that we took instead. We arrived at the Cruise Centre just after 2 pm, with a huge line up, with a good number of NCL staff to welcome and guide us. We left our tagged luggages at the entrance, and got them later just outside our stateroom. We got in the queue while filling up our profile forms and authorization for NCL to charge for Cambodia and Vietnam visa. (No Thailand visa required for Canadians). When we completed our forms, well over 200 people had joined the queue after us. US$89 per person for visa to go ashore in Sihanoukville, Cambodia is crazily expensive, given that this is only a one day (actually only 6-7 hours since ship leaves at 5pm) offshore excursion and total ripoff by NCL US$69 per person for visa to go ashore in Vietnamese ports is equally brutal in price. For a family of 3, the cost of these 2 visa would be a hefty US$474 (CAD640) We will now include this visa factor when evaluating costs for future cruises. Internet research to procure a visa for these 2 countries revealed it is easier said than done, as there are misleading, contradicting and incomplete information in any cruise forums/Trip advisor, and even "official" site. NCL takes advantage of this visa situation to make some good easy money from us all. Some reliable post claims that Celebrity cruise charges a single digit visa fee per person. Besides the very long wait in the queue, actual check-in was painless and our pictures were taken that would be used when embarking and disembarking the ship. We were told that NCL would use these same pictures taken for visa purposes. We downloaded the NCL app to view features of the ship and facilities offered. The app is only focused on advertising for their paid restaurants and offshore excursions. The rest is totally useless. No other pertinent information that’s worth hanging on to the app. 2 hours later, we finally went onboard. Our stateroom was ready when we got on board, reasonably clean and fully equipped. 2 single beds - Let housekeeping join them together to make a queen size bed, or the beds will somehow separate by next morning! Child wall overhead foldable bed 30” Flat TV Shower stall, toilet & sink. Shower gel and shampoo dispenser Soap bar, body lotion. Bath towels and beach towels Tissue paper Toilet paper (Dollar store quality) Safe (did not work), hair dryer, hangers, ice bucket. 2 bottled water labelled $5.50 each Mini fridge Room thermostat. Shelves to store stuffs. Two pouffes Two night tables with lamps. Three outlets on each of the 2 mini workspace: For laptop, double usb and a 3-prong. We used our travel adapter on the 3-prong outlets for charging other dual voltage devices. As we moved the night table around to maximize space, we found a pair of sunglasses behind, which we handed to our housekeeper. This therefore tells us that the room is not necessarily spick and span, as one would have liked it to be. Housekeeping is done daily. Twice daily actually. At about 5pm there was a mandatory drill regarding safety protocol where everyone has to attend (staff updating attendance register to ensure everyone attended) for about 30 mins. Ordering drinks at the bar was painless as our adult card keys were marked with the prepaid beverage code. We only needed to show 1 card to order for our 2 drinks. Long line up on the very first day. ONBOARD INTERNET NCL has a number of options, all crazily expensive. - Unlimited WIFI US$25.50 per day online purchase prior to cruise (Otherwise US$29.99) No VPN, no streaming. - Unlimited WIFI with VPN and streaming US$29.50 per day online purchase prior to cruise (Otherwise US$34.99) - 250 Anytime minutes for US$105 online purchase prior to cruise (Otherwise US$125). No VPN and no streaming. Need to log out when done, to stop the minutes counter. Note that for the unlimited options above, you will have to pay for the entire duration of the cruise, as there is no pro-rata charge. You therefore cannot purchase for a few days only, as I originally thought I could do. It's all or nothing unlimited package. After the 4th day of the cruise, the unlimited options are no longer available. Signals strength is best in common areas, but works to a lesser degree in the stateroom. Our first day on the ship was very promising and eager to start our adventure ... On the second day, a sea day, at 6am we were surprised that the Garden Cafe, and other restaurants were not open. Later in the same morning, we went to the restaurant reservation and politely enquired about opening hours of restaurants, to plan our offshore excursions. Arlene, on the customer service, raised her ducky squeeky voice to reply with such an attitude that took us all by surprise. For sure one of the worst staff we have ever encountered on any cruise ship. Ever. She sometimes worked at Chin Chin restaurant that my 6-yr old avoided like the pest. Seriously! We then realized that many of the staff, in general, on board the NCL Jewel are either ill-mannered or totally did not give a . Very cold treatment at the Tsar restaurant before we got seated. On the eve of the last day, on Friday Mar 15, at 7.54pm, I ordered a Scotch at the Atrium and the barman stated that he will give me a premium Scotch. I responded, that as long as I do not get billed, since I have a prepaid package. He stated that he will key in a lower grade Scotch. Another barman called vmal murmured, loud enough for me to hear: "Why such a fuss? This is the last night of the cruise" and turned his back on me without me having a chance to respond. I am flabbergasted with these kind of remarks. They sometimes forget that we are the customer. CRUISE REVIEW 1. The itinerary to South East Asia is splendid. 2. The ship itself has been renovated recently and feels like new. 3. Our stateroom was small but descent and contains everything one would require. 4. Staff attitude is perhaps one of the triggering point in liking or not liking a cruise line. While there are many lovely and polite staff on board, there is an equal if not more unpleasant staff on the NCL Jewel. Too many. 5. Process for check-in takes way too long. 6. The charge for visa is grossly exaggerated. 7. There is limited upfront information to a lot of things. The actual location where the ship docks at each port seems to be kept in secrecy. I arranged for a driver to pick us up in Phu My, Vietnam (as indicated on all documents we have) and have a nasty surprise that we docked at Cai Mep and had difficulty to contact the driver for this new location. In Sihanoukville, Cambodia we walked from the docks to the gate to meet our guide. In fact, there is a free shuttle to the gate but it was not advertised. What was advertised was $15 shuttle from docks to the City. 8. Going ashore using tender (In Ko Samui, Thailand) is a nightmare. Chaotic and totally disorganized. 9. Everyday struggle at the Garden Cafe Buffet to find a table, as the restaurant is too small to cater for the number of passengers. 10. Only a couple of good night entertainment show, and the rest is mediocre. Overall, the worst cruise line experience we have had. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
I’ve travelled a lot, but this was my first cruise. And it may well be my last. It was the worst vacation I have ever experienced. I chose this mode of travel as I am single and have a deadly allergy to all nuts and peanuts. After ... Read More
I’ve travelled a lot, but this was my first cruise. And it may well be my last. It was the worst vacation I have ever experienced. I chose this mode of travel as I am single and have a deadly allergy to all nuts and peanuts. After several emails, medical questionnaires and a phone conversation with Norwegian, I was advised that they could safely handle my special dietary needs. I was very excited, as I didn’t think I could ever visit these countries; countries rich in nut and peanut products. Well as it turned out, my allergy was just one of many issues I encountered while on the Norwegian Jewel for 2 weeks visiting Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. On a positive note, I found the ship and my cabin to be very clean and comfortable. There were plenty of staff everywhere, greeting and cleaning as they went. In fact the ratio of staff to customers was incredible at almost 3:1. However, the efficiency and productivity of the Jewel’s team was very low and their customer service was appalling. In fact, Guest Services’ attitude was…”if you don’t like it, there’s the door. Let us know when you are leaving on your way out”! That’s exactly what they told some friends I met, who had booked a room for 4 but only got beds for 3! My experience at Guest Services wasn’t any better. Even though I had a letter advising that on arrival the Executive Chef would meet with me to discuss my special dietary needs, they snarled at me with a look and tone of voice that was shocking. They told me the chefs were very busy and could not attend to any special needs. It took me hours to sort through that one, but as it turned out…I think they were right!! Eventually I was able to pre-order my meals so they could be prepared nut free, but I worried about everything I put in my mouth. I couldn’t trust them from one meal to the next, as it was clear they didn’t understand or didn’t care about cross contamination. Luckily I only had one minor incident. Besides the safety of the food for me, the overall dining experience was very poor. There was always a team of restaurant staff close by to remove your dirty glass or fork before you even put it down, but it took forever to have a request like ketchup, tea or a glass of wine fulfilled. The food started off very good, but deteriorated to very bad as the days went by. The last few days it was almost inedible. More people than not were returning their meals. It made for a very unpleasant dining experience. Customer service at the Excursions desk wasn’t any better. It didn’t matter that I’d pre-paid for one of their expensive excursions every day. They seemed to treat everybody in line terribly! The Manager was no better. At least I didn’t mind the 2-2.5 hr highway drives from the pier to the destinations (one way), as I got to see some of the countryside, but it wasn’t great travel time. In my opinion, leadership was sadly lacking on this ship. Management’s response to everything was “it’s not our fault” and as a result they took no responsibility for anything. In turn, they took little to no action in resolving anything. Communication between departments was totally absent and communication with customers wasn’t much better. Things often don’t work out in business the way we planned, but I think how you handle such incidents is critical and very telling. The team on this ship avoided and deflected issues coming at them. They simply didn’t seem to have the ability to problem solve on their feet. And that attitude and lack of training cascaded down throughout the entire organization. It was very evident on the pier at Ko Samui during our first excursion. People were passing out in the blazing sun for hours with no shade, water, proper line ups or communication, while we waited for tendering that went awry. A mob mentality almost took over as people struggled for basic survival and Sr. Officers stood by chatting and laughing amongst themselves. It was utter disorganization and disbelief for passengers, as many could be heard wondering out loud how this crew would handle a disaster at sea. It was no wonder people laughed out loud as the Captain addressed the ship’s passengers some 3-4 days later about that incident, saying that safety was his #1 priority. These are just a few examples from my trip with the Jewel. It was a stressful vacation. When I wasn’t sorting out my own issues, I was listening to others vent about their own terrible experiences on board and others who even called Head Office to no avail. I was happy to get off that boat. Read Less
Norwegian Jewel Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 4.0 0.0
Public Rooms 4.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 0.0
Family 4.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 0.0
Enrichment 1.0 0.0
Service 3.0 0.0
Value For Money 4.0 0.0
Rates 3.0 0.0

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