2,421 Norwegian Jewel Cruise Reviews

The crew should get an award from NCL they worked so hard. Some of them haven’t seen their families in months. Even though I didn’t go to many ports out of my 29 cruises on NCL I have never had a better experience. I almost didn’t ... Read More
The crew should get an award from NCL they worked so hard. Some of them haven’t seen their families in months. Even though I didn’t go to many ports out of my 29 cruises on NCL I have never had a better experience. I almost didn’t want to leave but the circumstances on land made me want to go home. The food was Great I had the free at sea dining along with me being a Platinum member includes 7 dinner at the specialties restaurant. The food everywhere else was very good almost equal to the Epic. The stretch and abs class and the morning was taught by a excellent instructor who did everything because he was by himself. The entertainment was excellent and got better as the cruise lasted way longer. I just love being in a big balcony cabin all by myself. The limited amount of shore excursion was excellent. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
Overall: Average Cruise and the highlight was the day cruising the Sounds. The Sounds are spectacular and cruising was a great way to see a small portion of them. Dining: We never do up charge dining, we paid for an all inclusive ... Read More
Overall: Average Cruise and the highlight was the day cruising the Sounds. The Sounds are spectacular and cruising was a great way to see a small portion of them. Dining: We never do up charge dining, we paid for an all inclusive why would you pay even more? The main dining rooms were average to below average. There was not one shrimp dish, appetizer or entree, on the menu for the entire 10 day cruise. We have cruised more than a dozen times is this was a first. Other cruise lines, at least in the past, have always offered at least a shrimp cocktail most every night. The two formal (Offically called "Dress up or not") nights were a big bust and the dinner menus those night were the worst of the entire cruise, no Prime rib and no lobster. The only seafood dishes offered the entire cruise ware mussels and clams. No New Zealand or Australian dishes offered. O'Sheehan's Neighborhood Bar & Grill was our favorite as they served very good Fish and Chips and Burgers there. The food at the Topsiders was below average. The Garden Cafe did ofter some dishes that were very good but mostly just average quality food. They did serve pork ribs there one night that we discovered after we had dinner in the Azure and they were way better than anything on the dinning room menu that night. So it is worth at least walking through and checking out the offerings at the Garden every night. The Chin Chin was good but nothing spectacular. Soft Ice Cream had Chocolate one night out of the entire cruise, the rest of the time it was Vanilla and Strawberry. There was scooped chocolate ice cream at the Topsiders in the afternoons most days. Entertainment: The production shows were above average and very good. Norwegian needs to re-think their entertainment choices outside of the production shows. There was one stand-up comedy show one night in the main theaters and one late night comedy show with the same comedian. That was it for entire 10 day cruise, I guess this isn't the Fun ship. They did have a comic magician one night in the main theater and he was the worst professional entertainer I have ever witnessed, this was high junior high level comedy and that is being generous. I could even see how he was doing some of this tricks. Lame tricks and not funny jokes. He must be NCL executives son-in-law. The pool side music presented by DJ Brightside was some really lame and way too load dance beat music from the 90s and 2000s. This was a really interesting choice considering that about 80% of the people on this cruise were in their 50s, 60s and 70s. Seemed to be no thought for the customer demographic by NCL management. There was a 1970's Grove Disco party one night that turned into an Abba tribute, we left after the forth straight Abba song. Someone needs to let them know that Abba was not a 70's Disco band. The "Showband" was excellent and a group of very talented musicians, we would go listen to them whenever they played. Shore excursions: Very few were offered. The ones that did offer were mostly lame and over priced to tune of up to three times of what you could book it for on your own. Ship: Well cared for and in very good shape, they disinfected the walls and hands rails at least three times a day. Our only issues was that it appears that they had never gotten around to washing the glass on the upper decks for the past couple of years. Ports: The New Zealand ports were all great. We did not get to stop at Gisborne because of six foot swells which was a surprise considering our itinerary stated that we were going to dock at Gisborne not tender. However we did get a whole $8 credit each for that day. We did book a scenic flight in Picton and it was a high light of our trip. Pelorus Air (https://www.pelorusair.com/) is a great some family owned company to fly with, their tour was great!!! Cabin: Nice and pretty much the norm. We spent four days on the North Island before our cruise and three days around Sydney after and we would definitely recommend doing that and maybe spending even more days. Our next trip to New Zealand will be exploring on land in a car. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We did an Auckland to Sydney cruise on the Jewel from Feb 4th to 14th. We choose this cruise because of the number of stops in New Zealand. We favor Celebrity, but picked this for the itinerary. We had been on NCL a couple times years ... Read More
We did an Auckland to Sydney cruise on the Jewel from Feb 4th to 14th. We choose this cruise because of the number of stops in New Zealand. We favor Celebrity, but picked this for the itinerary. We had been on NCL a couple times years ago and were never impressed. However, we were quite pleased with the Jewel and this cruise. I believe it has been refurbished fairly recently, so that probably helped. The ship though was quite nice, the crew great, and the itinerary outstanding. I cannot say a lot about the food - it was usually ok, but not great by any means. We did the specially restaurants 4 nights and thought Le Bistro was the best. We did like being able to choose from a number of included restaurants too instead of just one big main dining room. There are also no formal nights (yay!) and dress was casual (shorts were pretty common). The show entertainment ranged from OK to really pretty outstanding. The lounge and ship musical entertainment was generally pretty good. Embarkation in Auckland was a zoo due to the addition of Coronavirus screening. Fortunately, being in a mini suite, we got through in about 30 minutes. Getting off in Sydney was delayed about an hour due to Australian health officials checking out a guest. We had great weather the entire time, though we could not tender in Gisborne even though the waves looked basically non-existent. We were just going to the beach that day anyway, so the deck was about the same thing. The cruise through the Fjords was amazing with nothing by blue sky all day long. As I said, we were not NCL fans before, but this cruise definitely changed our minds. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
First time on Jewel, this was cruise 60 for me. Been to New Zealand many times. Embarkation and disembarkation was long and delayed due to port authorities and health checks for the Coronavirus. Not fault of Norwegian, There was an ... Read More
First time on Jewel, this was cruise 60 for me. Been to New Zealand many times. Embarkation and disembarkation was long and delayed due to port authorities and health checks for the Coronavirus. Not fault of Norwegian, There was an outbreak of gastro which made the bistro and main dining room difficult as everything was handled and served by staff. Everything was disinfected over and over. The condition of the Ship was fantastic, well maintained and no issues as everything worked and the cabin was comfortable. The crew were fantastic and very much enjoyed their contact, friendly and helpful. Entertainment was outstanding from stage productions to the comedian. Never missed a show. Internet was good but expensive. Loved the Coffee. Specialty Dinning was amazing and worth the money except for the Sushi. The itinerary ports were great, didn't do shore excursions as they were very expensive. The Doubtful Sound and Milford Sound were spectacular, was good if not better than Alaska. The Kiwi's were friendly and well prepared for tourists. Most of the passengers were American, British, Asian, some Australians and many other nationalities. Most of the passenger were middle aged, few elderly and disabled. Few Children or young passengers not for families. I enjoyed this cruise but it was not perfect but was excellent value for the solo traveler. I would recommend this ship and Norwegian. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
Incredible weather.   Between riding buses and a rental car for  six weeks from Cape Reinga to Wanaka in New Zealand, the only rain I had was for about an hour driving between Greymouth and Arthur's Pass.  How lucky is that ?!  I ... Read More
Incredible weather.   Between riding buses and a rental car for  six weeks from Cape Reinga to Wanaka in New Zealand, the only rain I had was for about an hour driving between Greymouth and Arthur's Pass.  How lucky is that ?!  I saw Queenstown on a previous visit, and highly recommend it and the bus tour to Milford Sound.   The road into the Sound is great. It has been a few years since I took a cruise, mostly because I travel solo, and the cruise lines really stick it to us.   A cruise advertised for $400.00 pp double occupancy somehow goes to  $2300.00 when I plug a 1 into number of guests.  Yes, typically I would be quoted paying for two people, and one or two added taxes.  Plus once you buy a cruise, you get that "enticing" offer to bid for an upgrade.  Of course whatever you bid will be doubled for us solos if accepted.  This was my fourth cruise, so I have comparables.  A cruise has the appeal of:  having a private,  comfortable, ensuite cabin; waking up in a different town or island with no concern for reserving hotels or being stuck in a room due to inclement weather;  how to entertain yourself; and food. Well, I just took the NCL Jewel from Auckland to Sydney, Feb 4-14, leaving at 1800 on the 4th, arriving at 0600 on the 14th.  It had a great price for a solo traveler.  BUT,   somehow this was considered a 12 day trip, and they tried to get you for $180.00 per person in service charges.  Plus the party leaving the cabin, and the one replacing me were  charged as well, so actually $210.00 in "tips" for that 12?   day trip, not per cabin,  but per person in that cabin that was  over three years old, so figure on  a bill for $540.00 in "tips" for a couple with one child. The ship had a jogging track, and a basketball court.  No thanks, WAY too many people, of all ages, sitting out there that you do NOT want to see in next to nothing.    Fortunately there was a decent gym on board, or you could get a good aerobic workout climbing the stairs between decks. Except for when we were in the sounds, you could not sit on the bow, which to me is the best seat in the house, next to the captain's chair.   "It's not safe". Yet  I can go to the top two  decks protected from disaster only by the same meter high railing.  Yea, that's ok.  Deck 12 was ringed by a seven foot tall glass barrier that you could see fairly well through dirty glass. Prepare your ears to be accosted by non-stop noise coming through the speakers probably called smooth jazz or freeform jazz.  You can't get away from it except in your cabin, or in the library.  I couldn't stand it when I was young, or now, as you can probably guess.  Except for trivia games, the entertainment was almost entirely music I don't listen to, and apparently the louder, the better. Again, I felt the same way in my twenties. All the announcements seemed to work in "for your safety".   If safety is such a hyperconcern, then you should ban smoking and alcohol on board.  And we know what gambling can do to some people, so you should ban it "for their safety".    Will never happen though, since those are huge revenue generators.   That New Zealand grown apple that was loaded in Auckland, not Shanghai, Auckland, could not be taken with you if you took that shore excursion that cost triple what it should.  The same with water for pete's sake.  What was I thinking, it's "for my safety".  Happy ending overall.  No rain, arrived on time, my flights were on time and it was back to reality. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We like cruising. We have been on several cruises, Costa, Holland America, Royal Caribean and Carnival and this was our first Norwegian experience. We are not the dress-up types and the fixed dinner seatings on most cruise lines are not ... Read More
We like cruising. We have been on several cruises, Costa, Holland America, Royal Caribean and Carnival and this was our first Norwegian experience. We are not the dress-up types and the fixed dinner seatings on most cruise lines are not our favourite, so the freestyle cruising from Norwegian sounded like a perfect match. Being from Sweden the Auckland to Sydney sailing was quite exotic for us so the Norwegian Jewel was our choice for this year. General impression of the ship. I liked the ship in general. It is quite modest in colors, not too much glitter and glamour and it feels relaxed. There is plenty of bars and dining, I would have liked a little bit more space to sit and read in a smaller lounge without activities and music though. The swimming pools are in one space, on other ships they are often separated to create a lively and quieter area so you can choose. There are plenty of bars, restaurants and although we had a full cruise, it never felt crowded. I liked the bridge viewing room, never seen that before. Fellow passengers were mainly from New Zealand and Australië and I really enjoyed their company. Dining The ship has a lot of different venues for dining. Apart from the main dining rooms and the buffet there are a complimentary Irish pub and an Asean restaurant, and several specialty dining restaurants. You are free to come whenever you like and dress code is minimal, but I was refused in the Tsars Palace main dining for not wearing a collared shirt. The alternative is the Azurre restaurant, it serves the same menu but is far less attractive. We never had to cue for any of the dining venues. We had a specialty dining package and used quite some of the restaurants. The buffet restaurant is not my favourite. It looked always crowded and noisy so we hardly used it. The Garden Cafe was the better choice, it offered a smaller selection but you could sit outside. The Azurre and Tsars Palace are the main dining venues. The Azurre is located midships and does not look very inviting. Tsars Palace is brighter and we we got a table at the window often. We like to share a table and talk with fellow passengers, but without asking we got a table for two. To be honest, I found the food in the main dining not the strongest part of the cruise. It was three courses, a bit middle of the road, and no local specialties. We now and then got food that had been standing for a while, was a bit cold or dry. Have seen better! The O'Sheehans Irish pub can be an alternative, pubfood, but not too bad. We had 4 specialty dinners in our package, we choose the Brazilian, Teppanyaki and French Bistro. To me it made a great difference. We loved the Moderno Brazilian, good meat, nice staff, nice atmosphere. Teppanyaki was good fun and good quality as well and we enjoyed the French Bistro as well. We did not try the Asean, Italian and Steakhouse... Bars and drinks. We were on the free at sea beverage package and that is good value. But we were a bit disappointed by the fact that specialty coffees were excluded from the package. And we found out that it is hard to get anything else then a brewed coffee anyway. There is only one place for a specialty coffee: the central coffee bar which is exploited by Starbucks where you get your latte in a disposable cup... Personally, I prefer a well brewed and nicely served coffee and I don't need any Starbucks during my cruise. Entertainment. I am not the napkin-folding or bingo kind of guy, so I can't judge on that, but I love theatre so we don't miss any of the shows. The theatre is the best I have ever seen on a cruise ship. It is huge and you have an unobstructed view from any seat. The shows are very well done. The production shows where of high standard, very professional and with quite good singers as well. Although not always my taste, I enjoyed every show just because it was so well done. Staff. To be honest, I have never been disappointed by the staff one any of my previous cruises, and Norwegian Jewel is no exception. Without exception, staff is kind, attentive and courteous. Other. I felt a bit like I had to be a bit carefull on buying additional services. Shore excursions are ridiculously overpriced, and I felt the same on any spa treatment. There was a raffle where you could win spa vouchers, I spoke to one of the 'winners' and they needed to spend a certain amount of money first to be able to redeem their price. I was willing to buy cruisenext vouchers (*Buy 1000 dollar vouchers, get 500 dollar off your ships account immediately') but found out you can only spend 250 dollar at a time on a new cruise. I have to book 4 cruises to use the whole 1000 dollar. Overall Despite some remarks, I liked the cruise experience with Norwegian. It was good value for money. Would I cruise with them again? Yes, but I would consider other cruise lines as well. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We selected this ship and itinerary because we wanted to visit this part of the world for the first time. Cruising seemed an ideal way to see a lot of New Zealand including the sounds on the South Island. We planned our own air since we ... Read More
We selected this ship and itinerary because we wanted to visit this part of the world for the first time. Cruising seemed an ideal way to see a lot of New Zealand including the sounds on the South Island. We planned our own air since we wanted to stay an extra few days in Auckland at the beginning and Sydney at the end. More on this later. The Norwegian Jewel was just refurbished and it’s clean overall. If you’ve been on other Jewel-class ships, this will feel comfortable. There are a few differences (no Atrium Bar, for example) but they were small things. The crew kept saying that this was the “friendliest ship” in the Norwegian fleet, and I must say that they lived up to this billing. Embarkation was smooth and quick. We arrived around 12:30 pm so the crowds had not started growing too large. Disembarkation went smoothly also, but was a bit jammed up at 9:30 am since it seems that is when many people want to leave. Entertainment was very good overall. The main thing that kept it from being excellent was a comedian-magician near the end of the cruise. He was trying to be funny during his interactions with the audience, but it mostly came across as creepy and unfunny. I think they were giving him a trial, as he was really not up to the level of the other performers. The other professional shows were amazing, high quality and professionally done. The lounge bands were typical for cruises: decent and competent, but not really inspiring. The food onboard was excellent overall, but we only went to a few venues. For the free venues, O’Sheehans has the most unique menu choices and the longest hours. Tsar’s Palace (main dining) was our preferred sit-down restaurant for dinner, with good service and tasty food. Azura (the second main dining room) appears to be where they train newer staff members; service wasn’t as consistent. We grabbed a snack a couple of times in the Garden Café, and that was reasonable but seemed always busy. For the specialty restaurants, we went to Cagney’s, Le Bistro, Teppanyaki, La Cucina, and twice to Moderno (overall, our favorite). We bought a 6-dinner package, so the cost per meal was less than $30. Our Free at Sea offer included Wi-Fi, ship to shore phone, drinks package and $50 per port shipboard credit per tour booked. One issue we had with the Wi-Fi: most ships allow you to connect to the NCL app while you're onboard without using your package minutes. Not on the Jewel: my app said that I had to connect to the Wi-Fi in order to use the app, which would burn up the minutes. You can buy more time, including unlimited, but it costs. I’m planning to comment to NCL about this. The enrichment talks were mostly good, although the educational talks were somewhat dry and not engaging. Ports: Overall, the ports provided a wide range of opportunities for tours and local exploration. The time in each port was a good fit for the number of activities available in each. Auckland: We stayed at the Avani Metropolis for three full days before embarking on Monday. We took a tour to Hobbiton and the Glow Worm caves on one day, which we booked in advance. We toured Waiheke Island on a wine tasting day, which we booked once we arrived in Auckland. We had a day free to walk around the city and meet up with other cruisers from the roll call for a casual sunset snack. Embarkation day is available to do a few things, if you don’t mind boarding relatively late (4:00 pm is the latest possible), but note that you can’t get off the ship once you’ve boarded. Bay of Islands: a beautiful location. We did not plan anything in advance, and we found there were many tours available from local providers once we got off the ship. We took a fast boat ride out to the Hole in the Rock and had a great time, then walked around the town. There’s a free shuttle from the tender dock into town (and back, of course). You can walk but it’s a bit far. The Treaty Grounds is near the tender dock, but it’s not free to go in and walk around. Tauranga: We booked a tour on our own to the Te Puia Geothermal Valley and Maori cultural show. It turned out to be a private tour for the same price as a group tour. Most of the other tours went to Hobbiton and the Glow Worm caves, and we felt that we made a good choice to do this tour earlier. Napier: We took an Art Deco tour through the ship, which was probably a good idea due to the limited number of tours. This tour started with a drive around the residential areas, followed by a walking tour that was done early enough to have time to walk back around the town. Picton: We booked a day-long wine tasting tour on our own, in advance. We were a group of 11 and we had a great time. Getting back in time was no problem, and the smaller group size let us visit smaller wineries. It seemed that many people do a wine tour here, as we saw a lot of other tour groups. Akaroa: A nice little port town. We took the Black Cat harbor cruise and saved money by booking it upon arrival. We saw some nice dolphins, seals and lots of birds. We walked around town and enjoyed seeing the historic buildings. Dunedin: We took the ship tour to Nature’s Wonders, which is a private wildlife park about an hour and half by bus from the ship. We saw a lot of seals and a few nesting penguins. We did not have a lot of time to visit Dunedin on the way back. They did offer to drop people off in Dunedin if they wanted. Note: there is no free shuttle between Port Chalmers and Dunedin (round trip is $10 NZ per person). Cruising the sounds: The weather was cooperative and the clouds that hugged the coastline did not extend very far into the sounds. As a result, we had beautiful conditions in all three sounds. We feel fortunate, as the cruise before us could not visit the sounds due to high winds. At sea (2 days): About what you’d expect. The first day, the weather was a little rough and windy for our cabin crawl, but we all managed. The weather the second day was much warmer and less windy, so it was a good day for the pool and deck. Sydney: We stayed 5 days including debarkation day (you should have most of the day available). We stayed at the Sydney Harbour B&B in The Rocks, near the top, so we got lots of exercise walking up and down the stairs. It was also Australia Day on Jan. 26 (Sunday) so we couldn’t do a lot of regular activities due to disruption of the ferry schedules. We toured the Opera House on Saturday morning and attended a concert there in the afternoon. If you have the choice, take an early tour (9:30 at the latest) so you can visit the concert halls that may be closed later in the day for events. We also visited the Tauranga Zoo, but bad weather delayed the opening of the Sky Safari (tram from bottom to top). We'd definitely go back on a similar itinerary, but we would pick one with more ports in Australia or maybe plan some more land time on our own. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
This was my 3rd cruise on the NCL Jewel and it did not disappoint. I am a solo traveler and NCL is the best for solos. I always get an oceanview cabin on deck 5 midship. So comfortable and close to mid and forward elevators always ... Read More
This was my 3rd cruise on the NCL Jewel and it did not disappoint. I am a solo traveler and NCL is the best for solos. I always get an oceanview cabin on deck 5 midship. So comfortable and close to mid and forward elevators always quiet. Our solo activity leader was awesome making dinners for the group getting group seat at the shows and making sure we all had a good time. The activities were excellent and my favorite is the dance lessons. They do lack a bit in Enrichment activities The pool and hot tubs were warm. Loved the ports and going thru the sounds perfect itinerary to see New Zealand. Food was excellent at all venues but Cagney's had to be the best love the truffle mash potatoes. The shows were really good and I especially enjoyed the Cirque show its not to be missed Awesome crew and room steward. NCL shore excursions are pricey so I looked into private ones which I highly recommend doing. The private ones are small groups normally and much more interesting then NCL excursions. Several ports I just went around on my own after researching and many were easy to walk around. Embarkation was the fastest I have ever experienced in 9 cruises with NCL and so easy. Disembarkation was well run and smooth. I would go again in a heartbeat and look forward to being on the Jewel again. I enjoy the NCL cruises so much as a solo I have 2 more booked Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
This was our second NCL cruise. The other was six years ago and since then we have cruised exclusively on Celebrity. The embarkation was quick and efficient. We chose a penthouse suite at the back of the ship. This was not part of ... Read More
This was our second NCL cruise. The other was six years ago and since then we have cruised exclusively on Celebrity. The embarkation was quick and efficient. We chose a penthouse suite at the back of the ship. This was not part of the Haven but did gain us access to the breakfast and dinner in Moderno as well as other suite perks. I'm glad we did not stay in the Haven. The courtyard and swimming pool are tiny and I would not have utilised these facilities. First, the positives. The ship has recently undergone a drydock renovation and it looks good. The decor has been modernised and the pool area decluttered. The ship was very clean and well-maintained. Dining: We dined at Cagney's, Le Bistro, Teppanyaki, Moderno and Azura. The food at Cagney's and Le Bistro was tasty and the service was good. My criticism would be a lack of vegetables. The meal plates were dominated by meat and after a few days we were longing for some greens. The food at Azura was very good too. My biggest disappointment was the Teppanyaki. Culturally, it bordered on offensive. The cooks were Filipino, pretending to be cooking an authentic Japanese dish. They were not. The food was very average - fried rice with a meat choice. Again, very few vegetables. The whole experience reminded me of being on a conveyor belt at an amusement park. Four tables were served at a time and it was very much a case of getting the people through and then out a side exit so more people could be moved through. A complete rip off. To add insult to injury the 'sake bar' only had two sakes. Very disappointing. My most pleasant surprise was the Moderno churrascaria. A fabulous salad bar and nicely cooked meat skewers. Very friendly staff too. Beverages: We purchased the premium plus beverage package. Most of the bar staff were unfamiliar with the package and some were put out at being asked to serve anything more than standard spirits and wine. It NCL are going to upsell these packages, they need to train the staff. When it came to cocktails, many of the staff had the American habit of putting in way too much sugar syrup. We had to ask them to halve the amount. One positive of the premium plus package was that all of the wines available by the bottle were excellent. Whoever was buying these wines in has done a good job of sourcing them. The premium plus package also included unlimited specialty coffees. Unfortunately, the baristas were Starbucks trained and so, while obliging, the coffees were not good. If NCL are pitching their product at New Zealanders and Australians, they need to employ baristas from those countries who actually know what a good cup of coffee tastes like. Entertainment: The stage shows were a pleasant surprise. Plainly NCL had spent a lot of money on sets, costumes and performers. We really enjoyed Velvet and the final show Le Cirque bijou. The only disappointment in the shows was the behaviour of some of the other guests. The first night a woman tried to save two rows of seats for her "closest friends" and distracted from the start of the show trying to wave them down. The second night, the people behind us talked through the entire show. I understand that it must be hard for the cruise line to monitor this sort of impoliteness. Service: The staff were mostly friendly and helpful (except some of the bar staff). Carlos, the suite concierge was the best we've ever had. He is smart, capable and hard-working. I would love to see him in charge of more of the restaurants and bars. Fitness centre: We bought a pass to attend unlimited classes. There were not enough scheduled to make it worth our while. I would like to have seen more cycling and TRX classes. Also, the gym attendants were unsafe in taking Pilates classes. There was a danger in injuring passengers as they did not modify the activities for those of differing experience levels. Ports: We stayed in Sydney at the start of the cruise. It's a great city and I strongly recommend staying in the downtown area. Unfortunately, there was a bit of smoke about due to the bushfires. Wellington: We skipped Dunedin and the Sounds due to poor weather and made an unscheduled stop in Wellington. We headed into Cuba street and went to a nice restaurant and bar. Akaroa: Always beautiful little Akaroa. We enjoyed a walk through the historic cemetery and finished with Fish and Chips on the waterfront. Picton: We enjoyed a lovely walk to the lookout and then followed the pathway to Bob's Bay. Beautiful views and great sailaway through the Marlborough Sounds. Napier: We took a car and headed to Te Mata peak. We stopped in at Craggy Range winery for a tasting. Fabulous wine. Tauranga: We arrived during a triathlon. We enjoyed a walk around the Mount, followed by coffee and ice cream. Bay of Islands: It was a beautiful day but as there was a twenty minute tender into Paihia we decided to stay on board. On arriving in Auckland we decided to skip breakfast and were among the first off the ship. The disembarkation process was fast and easy. In summary, while overall we had a good time, I prefer the Celebrity product when it comes to dining and service. I am unlikely to cruise with NCL again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Sydney (Pre-Cruise) We landed early in the morning and were in the arrival hall in under an hour. We collected a pocket WiFi that was reserved through Klook and purchased Opal cards from the WH Smith store for the public transportation. ... Read More
Sydney (Pre-Cruise) We landed early in the morning and were in the arrival hall in under an hour. We collected a pocket WiFi that was reserved through Klook and purchased Opal cards from the WH Smith store for the public transportation. We looked for a Wespac Bank ATM (Bank of America’s partner), but were unable to locate one. That was an exception. Wespac branches and/or ATMs were all over Sydney and New Zealand for the duration of our trip. Per the information found on Cruise Critic, we located the Bus 400 stand easily and rode it to the Mascot Station. After dropping off luggage at the hotel, we went to Chinatown for lunch. The rest of the day was spent exploring Darling Harbour and along George Street. The Queen Victoria Building was very nice. Our timing was not too good as we missed the “I am Free Walking Tour” that had a meeting point at Town Hall. The next day, we took the train all the way to Circular Quay to visit the Opera House. The area was extremely crowded. Afterwards, we walked across the Harbour Bridge. The view from the bridge was breathtaking. While on the bridge, we saw people participating in the Harbour Bridge Climb. Luna Park is on the other side but there was nothing for us there. We took the ferry back from Milson Point. Cruise We took the train back to Circular Quay. After dropping off the pocket WiFi at the Australian Post on Pitt Street using the pre-paid envelope, I went across the street to exchange the remaining Australian dollars to New Zealand dollars at the ANZ bank. After reading quite a few negative reviews about the money exchangers, I rather pay the $8 fee to a reputable bank. In my case, the fee worked out to be about 4%. The Overseas Passenger Terminal was a short and easy walk away. We dropped our bags off at around 11:15 a.m. and were on board before noon as the entire process was smooth and efficient. This was our fifth cruise with NCL and second on the Jewel. I noticed the space of our inside stateroom was made more efficient. Unfortunately, the food is not as good as I remember. Wellington This was not on the original itinerary. The inclement weather at the Fjords forced the change. So Wellington replaced Port Chalmers/Dunedin. The ship docked around 6 p.m. on the third night. We rode the free shuttle bus into town. But most of the stores and attractions were closed. The next morning, we hiked up to Mount Victoria from the second shuttle stop. We also visited the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa and walked along the waterfront. From the waterfront, we walked along Lambton Quay to do some shopping. We ended up at the Beehive where the first shuttle stop was. Akaroa This is a tender port. We picked up our tender tickets out by the pool right before heading into the buffet for breakfast. The timing was perfect as our number was called just as we finished eating. Cruisers who have booked an excursion through NCL or were at Gold Level or above did not need tender tickets. Even though the tender boat ride was under 20 minutes, the total time from when our number was called to when we set foot on Akaroa spanned about 45 minutes. Take that into consideration if you make an independent excursion arrangement. By the way, there were many vendors offering tours at the pier. They were very casual (unlike the in-your-face pestering we have encountered at numerous other ports). We opted to do things on our own again and walked to Newton’s Waterfall first. The distance was under 2 miles but all uphill. Note that you will have to go pass two fences. The first can be opened but the second had to be stepped over. The waterfall was just a small one. There are other walks to take. I saw a sign in town encouraging visitors to access www.bpwalk.co.nz. After coming back down, we paid a short visit to the lighthouse. For lunch, we had meat pies and baguette from Akaroa Butchery and Deli per the recommendation of the Cruise Critic community. The crusts were super flaky. The beef pie was very good. The lamb pie could use some more seasoning. Nonetheless, these were the best meat pies we had on the whole trip. We spent the rest of the afternoon shopping. The artisan markets had much to offer. By the way, we saw a sign for a laundromat at the corner of Rue Lavaud and Rue Brittan in case you need it. Picton This is another small port town. Most of the excursions involve wine tasting that did not suit us. We rode the complimentary shuttle bus into town and embarked on yet another hike. Since the All Aboard time was early, 3:30 p.m., we chose a short Bay/Harbour View hike. Along the way we encountered quite a few New Zealanders heading to Bob’s Bay. The harbour view from the top is as nice as expected. Note, there are also laundromats near the shuttle stop. Napier We did not get off the ship until almost 10 a.m. to take the complimentary shuttle into town. With an all aboard time being 3:30 p.m. again, we stayed around the first stop and got nice pictures at Hawke’s Bay and the Sunken Garden. We also visited the museum (free entry and free WiFi). The rest of the time was spent shopping and eating. The pies (steak, butter chicken and apple & custard) at Jesters were pretty good. The crust was not as flaky as I like. Tauranga We booked a custom tour with Scott Tours to visit Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland and Te Puia geyser. The ship docked after 9 a.m. and was cleared by 9:30. We managed to be on the wharf by 9:45. Our tour guide/driver Geoff was waiting for us. We had an excellent day! The first stop was actually at a boiling mud pool. Then on to Wai-O-Tapu where we spent 2 hours. The Champagne Pool was as advertised. After lunch, we went to Te Puia. We had a chance to visit a Kiwi bird sanctuary and a woodcarving workshop before the eruption. It was certainly worth the wait. On the way back, we stopped for hoki poki ice-cream as well as at a kiwi farm. All in all, it was the best day of the cruise. Bay of Islands This is another tender port. The same strategy of picking up tender tickets as we headed for breakfast worked out again. Our number was called just as we finished eating. We booked a tour with Bay of Islands Shuttles & Shore Trips to visit the Kawiti Glow Worm Caves and Opua Kauri Forest Walk. The tour was scheduled to depart at 9:30 a.m. We were on the wharf by 8:45. Two people in our group did not get to the wharf on time. The tour operator, Ken, waited as long as he could. I missed the official introduction, but the forest walk must have been led by a naturalist. She was very knowledgeable. When we got to the glow worm caves, a local Maori guide led that walk. Before dropping us off in town, Paihia, we stopped at the Hundertwasser Toilets. Ken treated us to donuts (they are more like cream puffs). Auckland (Post-Cruise) We made a reservation with Kiwi Day Trips to visit the Cathedral Cove and Hot Water Beach. We had a fantastic day. The 11-hour trip was highly organized. On another day, we took the ferry to visit Rangitoto Island and hiked to the summit. Unfortunately, the track to the lava caves was closed. On the way back, we stopped off at Devonport. We picked up chocolates to take home at Devonport Chocolates. We also purchased a combination ticket for the ferry to Waiheke Island with hop-on hop-off bus tickets. Since we are not wine drinkers, we did not find the visit appealing. We did stop off at Rangihoua Estates and picked up olive oil and chutney. In between, we managed to find time shopping around the CBD and even the Westfield Newmarket mall. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Standing in a queue with 2000 people to disembark in Auckland NZ while 2 staff look up each passenger manually in a book. I'll find out why in an hour or so. Worst disembarcation I've had in 30 years. Crew are stiff. Food is ... Read More
Standing in a queue with 2000 people to disembark in Auckland NZ while 2 staff look up each passenger manually in a book. I'll find out why in an hour or so. Worst disembarcation I've had in 30 years. Crew are stiff. Food is terrible (stale bread served up with dinner multiple times). Cabin so small there is no chair or table. Not enough space to walk down the side of the bed. Public spaces aren't big enough for the number of passengers. Power board confiscated at boarding with no prior notice. Bag took until 8pm to reach the cabin. Makes it hard to dress for dinner. The lottery ticket promotion in the showroom before the performance was also a bit much to take. Also remember to add $15 per person per day +20% service fee to your bill. Greed greed greed. Outside the showroom the entertainment was repetitive. Same act, different location. Only good point was the acrobats in the showroom. Spend your money with someone else. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
This was the Best cruise I have ever been on. It was a Holiday cruise in December and just the Best Time!!! Christmas caroling, cookies and fun things to do. And the Christmas buffets were spectacular. The food was really good and at ... Read More
This was the Best cruise I have ever been on. It was a Holiday cruise in December and just the Best Time!!! Christmas caroling, cookies and fun things to do. And the Christmas buffets were spectacular. The food was really good and at times excellent. The buffets were just terrific and I spent most of the time eating at the buffets because they were so good, and the staff were very accommodating. The entertainment was better then even the shows I have seen in Palm Beach County Florida at the Kravis Center; they were Spectacular (from the phenomenal singers, to the fabulous dancers, "Red Velvet", Le Cirque Bijou, etc.), can't say enough. The Cruise Director and staff were so awesome, always smiling, sincere, friendly, and helpful; and they were at the dance floors quite a bit which was a lot of fun. The room stewards were absolutely great. So much to do on the ship that I couldn't choose sometimes because I wanted to do it all. The fitness center was the best. And then the excursions, well words can't describe how phenomenal they were!!! You have to go on "Nature's Wonders Wildlife Safari", "Queen Charlotte Track Hike", and "Hawks Bay Countryside" you simply can't miss, just awesome!!! But the best was actually cruising through Milford Sound, Doubtful Sound and Dusky Sound; absolutely breathtaking!!! New Zealand is just absolutely Beautiful and the people are just as beautiful as the Country. I think this might be as good as it gets, just the best vacation I have ever had and probably will ever have. I could keep writing. And I met "my person" on the cruise (fingers crossed, prayers going up), we are dating! Thank you Norwegian Jewel for literally, "The Time Of My Life"! And I mean that with all sincerity! Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We paid top dollar for this average cruise. Had previously been on a Celebrity Cruise and thought the food was bad but nothing could compare to the slop on this ship. Poorly cooked and presented, mostly stone cold and very little ... Read More
We paid top dollar for this average cruise. Had previously been on a Celebrity Cruise and thought the food was bad but nothing could compare to the slop on this ship. Poorly cooked and presented, mostly stone cold and very little supervision from staff. Children digging their hands in the food and not being deterred by staff. Had to send food back in one of the paid restaurants ( food overall was average and then had to pay 20% surcharge plus a tip for average food). Ended up cancelling the restaurants covered by our dining package and eating for free at Tasrs Palace and Azura where the food and service were much better. Nowhere decent to get a coffee except the swill at Starbucks, which you had to pay for. Entertainment-average. Activities- poor. Staff- very friendly. Excursions- great if you want to spend hours on a bus going to wineries to try wines Aussies can get cheaper in any Dan Murphy’s. Too many sea days. Pools- only 2 small pools for 2,500 people and they were netted off half the time. We found the only games room-10 tables and a motley assortment of half a dozen games for 2,500 people. Library not staffed most of the time. Activities pathetically organised and not worth participating in. Bars small and crowded and music too loud for the venues, causing people to shout. Very poor value for money overall. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
My wife and I have just returned from a 12-day cruise (Sydney/New Zealand/Sydney) on the Norwegian Jewel. We have previously been on 12 cruises from 7 to 48 nights with 5 different cruise lines ranging from 3 to 5 stars and rate our ... Read More
My wife and I have just returned from a 12-day cruise (Sydney/New Zealand/Sydney) on the Norwegian Jewel. We have previously been on 12 cruises from 7 to 48 nights with 5 different cruise lines ranging from 3 to 5 stars and rate our Norwegian Jewel cruise at a barely 3-star level for the following reasons: MISSING LUGGAGE: We arrived at our cabin to find one large suitcase missing. We made 4 phone calls to Customer Services and were told each time that it would eventually be delivered to our cabin. When at 8 pm it was still undelivered, we personally visited the Customer Services section and insisted that someone look for our suitcase. We were told that it had been impounded because it didn’t have an NCL label. This label had been attached at the dock BY NCL STAFF but obviously not well enough to survive their luggage handlers. HOWEVER, our suitcase DID HAVE A PERSONAL LABEL ATTACHED in a leather case containing our full names, address and phone contact details. We eventually received the suitcase around 9.30 pm that night ! NO LAUNDRY OR IRONING FACILITIES: There are no passenger laundries or ironing facilities on this ship CHILD’S BATH: DO NOT be seduced by the inclusion of a “luxury bath” in a mini-suite. If you are a child 12 years or under, the bath will be fine for you. If you are a slim adult, you may get your butt into the water but that’s all – your upper torso including your shoulders WILL NOT FIT – the bath is simply too narrow. Also there is an overflow outlet that will ensure that you don’t get more than about 150 mm of water in the bottom of the bath at any time. MINI-SUITE SIZE AND LAYOUT: The mini-suite on Norwegian Jewel is cramped and about 50 square feet smaller than a similar mini-suite on say the Emerald Princess. It has a small wardrobe that is so close to the bed as to prevent opening the robe door – by comparison, Emerald Princess has a large walk-in clothes storage/dressing room STAFF: Staff were about 98% from Philippines. While they were all courteous and friendly, most had basic English only – hard to understand – little or no knowledge of ship – Couldn’t get answers or got incorrect answers to simple questions like “Where is . . . “, “When does . . . . . open?”, “Is there a show on tonight ?” etc. However, there was one waiter serving in the Azura dining room who stood head and shoulders above the rest. He was from South America – spoke excellent English – the ultimate professional – very knowledgeable about food and wines and gave us the best (and quickest) service of all on the ship. This man would fit easily into any one of the very best restaurants in the World DRINKS PACKAGE: Only consider buying a Drinks Package if you drink a lot of alcohol drinks under $15 each. The package DOES NOT INCLUDE bottled wine, coffee, water, mini bar, fresh juices, or any alcohol drinks above $15 etc. FOOD: As the food staff were almost exclusively Asian, all the food had that “Asian” taste. The range of food available was boring and repetitive We enjoyed our evening at the Teppanyaki Japanese restaurant but found Cagney’s Steakhouse a hit and miss affair. My wife had a fillet steak that was acceptable whereas my rib fillet steak was around 50% gristle and very “chewy”. We found both the Italian and French restaurants pretty average and uninspiring and the Garden Café buffet food pathetic. Best overall food and service were at the Azura main dining room Décor: Only two variations of one colour (light brown and dark brown) have been used throughout the ship giving it an uninviting and almost depressing appearance. Surely some different colours could have been incorporated into the décor to brighten the ship up a little ! Would we cruise again on the Norwegian Jewel ? NO. Would we cruise again with Norwegian Cruise Line ? NO Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Overpriced everything, in US$, especially drinks, auto 20% gratuity on everything to staff who don't deserve it. Outrageously expensive excursions. On board activities run by staff with English as a second language, they were ... Read More
Overpriced everything, in US$, especially drinks, auto 20% gratuity on everything to staff who don't deserve it. Outrageously expensive excursions. On board activities run by staff with English as a second language, they were incomprehensible, activities boring. Food was OK. Specialty restaurants food quality not worth it. Best food was in Azura. Will not be a repeat customer, extremely poor value on this cruise. Internet access is hugely overpriced, you even have to pay extra for their app to be able to text other passengers. My wife's on board credit card got cut off daily which allowed us the opportunity to wait in their queue at the service desk every day! Duty free booze was not worth it, i can get better prices at retail in Australia. Staff were mostly just going through the motion in terms of service, understandable given they are paid almost nothing and work 80+ hours per week. Having said that, there were a couple of people who served us who truly did care and their service was rewarded. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
After receiving an upgrade to a penthouse suite our cruise was absolutely amazing. I would challenge any cruise to serve up a better meal than that of Le Bistro. Every dining experience was excellent even the regular buffet. The staff ... Read More
After receiving an upgrade to a penthouse suite our cruise was absolutely amazing. I would challenge any cruise to serve up a better meal than that of Le Bistro. Every dining experience was excellent even the regular buffet. The staff were ever so attentive and to my wire's dismay the bar staff went all out to ensure that you were never thirsty. I would encourage every cruiser on this ship to befriend Vini in the Bliss bar. The music wasn't that great, to my taste, however, the Circus performance was as efgood as I've seen anywhere. A tip, get there early as both shows fill up extremely quickly. The cleanliness of all areas was amazing. I cannot remember seeing anything at all out of place. My personal room steward, Greg, was personable, polite, enthusiastic and ensured our cabin was everything we would expect. It was like a five star hotel. Disembarking and embarking was easy, staff did their job so efficiently. The staff were genuinely interested in you as a person not a figure. I would recommend this cruise line to every prospective cruiser especially for the relaxed atmosphere on board. 5 stars NCL. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
This is our sixth cruise, second with Norwegian, the others have been with Royal Caribbean. I haven’t submitted a review before, but have spent a great deal of time reading others before booking previous cruises so thought it’s my ... Read More
This is our sixth cruise, second with Norwegian, the others have been with Royal Caribbean. I haven’t submitted a review before, but have spent a great deal of time reading others before booking previous cruises so thought it’s my turn to give some (hopefully) helpful tips. We cruised with Norwegian Jewel, in penthouse suite 9000 which is at the forward of the ship, sailing from Sydney to Auckland. We flew into Sydney from Melbourne on the morning of the cruise. Booked transfers through Norwegian which cost about $48 each (Australian). Easy to find the right person at the airport, they held up a sign identifying themselves as Norwegian transfers and were dressed professionally. There were other travellers that had booked transfers also so it was a small walk to another terminal & short wait for them to collect their luggage then into a comfortable mini van. Dropped off at the pier, then it was mayhem. People crowding around a small table where there were about four staff to help people to attach their luggage labels onto their luggage, but so many people had not printed out their labels prior which delayed others who just wanted to staple their labels on. They needed lines put in place of people who had heir labels and other line for others that didn’t. Tip- bring your own small stapler. Then a few steps to other staff who took the luggage then onto checkin. Because we were in a penthouse suite, we skipped the queues, was so quick and easy to get our ship cards, and through security then we were personally escorted onto the ship by a butler, and taken to one of the restaurants for lunch for suite & haven guests only. We had breakfast every day in this restaurant, menu didn’t change but all the food was amazing, never got bored. There was cooked breakfast which was cooked to order, wait staff brought out cooked breakfast, tea & coffees & toast. There was also a good sized buffet where you could help yourself, there were fresh fruit, porridge, meats, cheese, pastries, yoghurt, water & juice. (Drinks weren’t individually packed so couldn’t take back to room, apart from chocolate milk) We sometimes had lunch there also and again, menu didn’t change but never got a chance to try all that was available. What was impressive was that the suite/haven restaurant was open every day for lunch, sea days & port days. For dinner we mainly went to Tsars restaurant which opened at 530pm. There was usually a queue starting at 5pm and sometimes they let you in 15 minutes early but try to get there at 530pm to get the good seats. Not sure if it was because we were suite guests but we mainly got window tables, except for the two times that we went later, were sat in busy areas. Service was a bit hit & miss but overall I think they did a pretty good job considering how busy it is. Food again, fabulous! You can order what you want, if you can’t decide between two entree, just order both! Menus changed daily but the meals under the heading ‘classic’ remained the same. The restaurant had large floor to ceiling windows at the back of the ship so to get a table there, you could watch the ship depart the port, while sipping your wine, so relaxing. We tried the Asian restaurant, Chin chin. Was free of charge, but not really impressed. Wait staff busy, polite enough but appeared unhappy, food a bit blah. The only thing that was good was the spring rolls - delish! The other free of charge restaurant was Azure which served the same meals as Tsars, room not as impressive, ate there once just to see what it was like, preferred Tsars. There of course was the buffet, had amazing amount of choice of food, always busy, a bit to noisy for me. Walking through the buffet was another small buffet outside where you could sit, lovely view. There was a 24hour restaurant which served pub style food, again free, good for a late night snack, sometimes a live band played on the steps near there so good to enjoy a drink before dinner watching some music. There were also many other bars with music, all good. Found it much quicker to get served at bars in Norwegian compared to Royal Caribbean, less queues, happier bar staff. Don’t know if it’s because there are more bars and that they are open longer? Every night there were shows, 715pm and 915pm (except for first and last night where there was one show only). Get there early to get good seats. There were bar staff that wander the aisles so you can order drinks and they’ll bring them to you. Went to most of the shows, all were fantastic, except for first night, was an introduction to the entertainment, give it a miss. Now some tips to you cruisers, hopefully it will help you save some money. The only reason I gave Norwegian Jewel 4 out of 5 was the expense. I thought Royal was terrible with trying to sell you extra things, well Norwegian does it in a sneaky manner. We got our room with deal of 50% of second guest. This meant the we didn’t get free at sea deal. No drink package, no specialty dining, no internet, no extra $ to put to shore excursions. I thought that by choosing this 50% of second guest saved about $2000, and that we wouldn’t spend that much on extras. Was I wrong! (By the way, when I mention $, I’m referring to Australian $) I bought water package and internet package prior to cruise. I think the water was $75 for 24 one litre bottles. This was enough for the two of us for the ten day cruise. There is water available in the buffet but you aren’t allowed to fill up bottles, so if you can be bothered to bring cups back & forth or bring a jug to fill then that would save you $. Restaurants do serve you iced water in glasses. The internet package cost close to $500 for unlimited access and streaming. We could only use one device at a time but was easy to use, a bit slow at times but pretty impressive considering at times it seemed like we were in the middle of nowhere and could still access the internet! There was other plans for the internet, we got the most expensive one as didn’t want to worry about going over with access and getting stung with excess use $. The other thing we paid upfront was the gratuities. This was almost $500 for both of us. Think it should be included in the price, didn’t realise you have to pay it until you go to pay your deposit for the cruise. So keep in mind, the advertised price sounds good but there is the additional gratuities on top of that. Now the sneakiness - almost everything you buy on board has extra gratuities added onto. So you are paying extra gratuities. So keep in mind that all $ on board is US. A cocktail was US$11. Then they add 20% gratuities on top of that. Then you need to convert to AU$. So one cocktail costs A$19.20 I also got a wine package that I bought the day we embarked. It was four bottles for US$88. Thought that wasn’t too bad AU$130, $32.50 per bottle, expensive but better then paying for seperate glasses. Wasn’t told that they were going to add an extra 20% onto that. Got charged US$105.60 which was AU$154, queried at customer service and was told that it was written on the piece of paper that I signed, I said that I wasn’t told this and felt I was mislead. She shrugged at me and repeated that I had signed agreeing to it. When I said that I’d already paid the gratuities, she said that was for housekeeping, not for bar staff. Got the impression that she has to tell this to many people often. I felt so ripped off. So please people, be aware of this. I think in hindsight it is worth paying extra upfront for the free at sea promo if you can get that. We did have a rude shock at the end when we got our final bill. The other thing is don’t book shore excursions through the ship. It’s very expensive. We booked our tours through cruiseexcursions.co.nz, book one tour, get 10% off on your other tours booked. They use smaller, local tour groups. Had fantastic tours through them and they guarantee to return you to ship in time for departure. Disembarking was easy. Meet at Chin Chin restaurant, escorted to front of line and followed queue out. Was messy picking up luggage, people were jumping the queue, a bit frustrating but didn’t stress as we didn’t have a plane to catch. Ship docks right at Auckland city, so was easy to get off ship and walk to our accommodation. We stayed for two nights at Barclays suites (don’t bother, not clean and they gave a stranger access card to our room, thank goodness we were in the room at the time. Front desk just shrugged it off.) Oh, and another tip - the ship doesn’t have laundry facilities for guests to do our laundry but about halfway through cruise there was a special where you could fill a large bag of clothes to be laundered for US$20 (no gratuities added onto this one!) Returned the next day washed and folded. Hope this review helps you cruisers out there! Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
I have been cruising since I was a kid because my Mom loved crusing - so she started us off young! I took my son on his first cruise when he was 5 - and he said it was better than Disneyland! I must concur. This particular cruise is ... Read More
I have been cruising since I was a kid because my Mom loved crusing - so she started us off young! I took my son on his first cruise when he was 5 - and he said it was better than Disneyland! I must concur. This particular cruise is really the only - and most civilized way to see the South Pacific - via Norwegian's island hopping cruise. You can fly from island to island - or take a private yacht - but it'll cost you a fortune! Don't hesitate to take this cruise - it was absolutely fabulous and that famous south pacific weather in the Coral Sea should not be missed! We have been on the Jewel before and cannot speak more highly of the staff, crew and entertainers. Norwegian does NOT disappoint and Stephen the head of the "hotel" aspect of the cruise does an outstanidng job of making sure everything is "ship shape" - pun intended - and that everyone is happy. You'll see him everyday surveying the ship and talking with the passangers. We had a problem with the toilet in our cabin - but guest services had it all sorted out within a matter of hours - no problem. This is an very international cruise - travellers from all over the world - from every continent - predominantly from Europe, USA, Canada and Australia. You'll hear every language spoken. The entertainment was fabulous - the free activites endless, something for everyone. The food was varied - and they even had a Thanksgiving feast - the whole 9 yeards - EXCEPT - surprisingly - no pumpkin pie ay ay ay! But we survived that lol ! Our cabin steward was a woman and that was nice for a change - they are usually guys. These guys have a harrowing schedule - they work 4 months off without a day off! So it's always a surprise to me how they can be so cordial under these work cricumstances. Be nice to them! The cruise started in Tahiti - we spent a week in Tahiti before the shipped arrived - and it was very exciting seeing the Jewel arrive and fill up that tiny port! We couldn't wait to get on board and be pampered! This particular cruise is an unusal intinerary - Tahiti, Raiatea, Bora Bora, 2 Fijian Islands, Samoa, 2 French Caledonian, Vanuatu and ends in "Seedney" (as the Aussie's pronounce it). It was something very special sailing into Sydney wiith its iconic harbor! I highly recommend this cruise. In fact, we loved it so much that we are thinking of taking the return version of it. My only complaint - and it's not really a complaint - is the Jewel went through a refit in Novemeber 2018 and the design theme of colorful "Bahamian" colors was changed to a cool grey. Sorry people - but I preferred the Bahamian colors. Now the ship looks too military for me! But that's simply my taste. Ohterwise - thank you so much Norwegian and the Jewel - its officers, crew and staff and entertianers and everyone who works on board for making travelling so enjoyable! You know how to pamper! Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
This was the 2nd leg of our 30 days from Hawaii to Australia which was an amazing itinerary with great weather. I covered most of the detail in part 1 of my review. A third of passengers were back to back so the vibe of the ship ... Read More
This was the 2nd leg of our 30 days from Hawaii to Australia which was an amazing itinerary with great weather. I covered most of the detail in part 1 of my review. A third of passengers were back to back so the vibe of the ship didn’t change too much. This itinerary was much more balanced than the first leg with no more than 2 concurrent sea days. The CD also settled more on this leg and got in the moment and did a much better job of creating a positive mood and hosted some talks and also got on the microphone when we were sailing thru Fiji. Tahani the assistant cruise director hosted a great progressive trivia and has a great ability to chat and remember the passengers. This cruise had a fantastic tap group from Australia who were highly entertaining. Candace (idol winner) was again superb as was Igor the band leader saxophonist. The other guest entertainers were ok without being great. As previously mentioned the activities lacked diversity and the activities staff seemed nervous and inexperienced. One new thing was the concert on the final night of the cruise in the Spinnakers lounge which featured all the musicians from around the ship it was a great event they should continue in the future. We did have cabin problems on this leg, strangely NCL gave very few back to backers the same cabin despite booking the same category, this caused unnecessary workload and unsettled the flow. This is the 2nd time we have done b2b on NCL and both times it has been handled poorly. We were never notified of the meeting. The queues to get new key cards took more than 2 hours! At least time they rolled the accounts smoothly. We were assigned a new inside cabin (11085) which was considered an upgrade to an IA from an IC and it was slightly better and in good condition but our previously voiced concerns (didn’t want to move) over potential noise problems were valid as on the first night we could hear everything from the buffet (particularly the late night cleaning), we had a downgrade move to an inside on 9 which was a much smaller room but also suffered from noise from the plumbing pipes behind the back wall. Thankfully one of the senior guest relations officers found us an oceanview on 4 to make up for some of the poor problems we suffered in the first leg. This cabin was an OF and was much larger than the previous inside cabins so we were much happier. It did suffer from noise as well as it was opposite the electrical station so a lot of buzzing was off putting and it was very noisy when entering port but at least it was much more comfortable. Our cabin attendant on this leg was first class. As on the last leg the hotel director was very visible and hands on and once again the loading and offloading of passengers in the ports was first rate. Food and service remained a high standard but again we were treated very poorly in specialist restaurants (we almost walked out of the Italian due to the incredibly rude hostess - thankfully the Maître D rescued the night but still a sour experience after an unbelievable port day) when using our platinum dining vouchers. Having said that my steak in Cagneys was first class. It was noticeable that less drinks are in the premium package than previously. Overall a great itinerary at a very good price. The onboard experience improved from the first leg but activities still need improving. Would recommend this itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We chose to cruise because my wife and I have never been to this part of the world (French Polynesia, American Samoa, New Caledonia) and we wanted to see Tahiti & Bora Bora, especially (Tahiti because of its history of the Bounty ... Read More
We chose to cruise because my wife and I have never been to this part of the world (French Polynesia, American Samoa, New Caledonia) and we wanted to see Tahiti & Bora Bora, especially (Tahiti because of its history of the Bounty mutiny). About NCL: We picked Norwegian Cruise Lines because of our past cruising wonderful experiences with NCL (Alaska & Hawai'i). Because of the priority escorting and boarding (penthouse suite), both embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly, even on the island excursion trips we were escorted to avoid the long lines. Very beautiful and elegant ship! A floating palace! THE CABIN & DINING: Our penthouse suite was located on the forward part of the ship under the bridge and from our balcony we had a beautiful view of everything. The suite was quite smaller than our mid-ship penthouse suite in the Pride of Hawai'i, but we had excellent service from our butler and steward and dining staff in Moderno (for penthouse & haven passengers) & most of the specialty restaurants. The food was well-prepared and presented with elegance, especially in the specialty restaurants. In the Garden Cafe' there were deliciously-prepared and variegated foods: ethnic; vegetarian; meats and poultry; comfort foods such as pizza, burgers, fries, etc.; soups, fruit beautifully decorated; desserts were bountiful, temptingly pleasing to the eye and delicious!!! So much to see and eat!!! And such wonderful presentations. There were many complimentary restaurants as well as specialty restaurants. One never runs out of choices. Many delectable menus to choose, and in our case, because we are vegetarians, the specialty restaurants were able to accommodate our special request. ENTERTAINMENT & ACTIVITIES: Wow! These are better than watching TV or the movies or seeing live Broadway shows. The Stardust Theatre is built to simulate a mini-opera house and the acoustics are excellent. There are evening live performances. Loved the comedians such as Jeff Harms; the acrobat/juggler; the hypnotist-comedienne; Le Cirque Bijou; the singing (tap & 50s & 60s - the older & retired love them); crew talent show (surprisingly good!). Simultaneously showing are also live singing performances and/or dancing in bars and lounges. Cruise director Dave is the best! Funny, witty, and entertaining. Live game shows in Spinnaker Lounge featuring volunteer couples are unique, funny and entertaining. Brenda and her sidekick Jen (?) are hilarious and kept us in stitches. There are daily morning workouts and dancing classes (all free) near the outside pool and hot tub areas and the gym. On sea days there are plenty of activities: exploring the ship inside and outside by yourselves (each restaurant is aesthetically pleasing to the eye and beautifully decorated); running; walking; jogging; shuffleboard; reading in a peaceful and quiet library; a game room for chess, checkerboard, puzzles, mah-jong; a tiny but pretty chapel; a video arcade; everywhere are long lounge chairs for sunbathing (believe it or not you still get the privacy); an art gallery where there are auctions for paintings; a gift shop (unfortunately, they did not sell books, esp. picture books of the places [French Polynesia, Fiji Islands, American Samoa, New Caledonia] that we've seen - for the cocktail table). SERVICE: The service and all the crew members are all excellent. They greet you with a warm and welcoming smile, and wish you a great day. Love the concierge, butlers, waiters/waitresses, stewards/stewardesses. They worked hard and were very helpful to the passengers. PORTS & SHORE EXCURSIONS: With priority boarding you get priority escorting to avoid the long lines when entering and exiting the ship. The excursions were well-organized and daily flyers for each excursion were distributed and available. If you'd rather explore the ports/islands by yourselves, you can walk/hike. PASSENGERS: Most of the passengers on board the cruise to French Polynesia (NCL Jewel) were senior citizens and retirees, or couples on their honeymoon or 2nd or umpteenth wedding anniversary. They come from all over the world: Western & Eastern Europe; Asia; Australia; North & South America; South Africa. This French Polynesian cruise is suited for older passengers, especially those who prefer the more quiet atmosphere. WOULD WE GO AGAIN? Heck, YES!!! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ CONCERNS: My husband and I are very health-conscious, vegetarian and eat primarily organic foods. Unfortunately, in our NCL trip we were not able to find any ORGANIC entrees in the restaurant menus, not even in the specialty restaurants. A minor note: We noticed that the paintings around the ship are now all abstracts and all look somewhat alike. Very boring, colorless, UGLY and not thematic at all with regard to the ship's itineraries. Also, in the Tsar's Palace the abstract paintings are COMPLETELY OUT OF PLACE. Unlike the NCL Pearl, where the Tsar's Palace had paintings of the Russian Tsar and his family and individual portrait/paintings, and rustic scenery art work, the NCL Jewel's Tsar's Palace is devoid of such elegance and beauty. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Our bucket list included Tahiti / Fiji and this cruise included this and more ! Loved the South Pacific / French Polynesian ! People were friendly...went to some villages and the kids are always smiling and waving ! Great snorkeling and ... Read More
Our bucket list included Tahiti / Fiji and this cruise included this and more ! Loved the South Pacific / French Polynesian ! People were friendly...went to some villages and the kids are always smiling and waving ! Great snorkeling and the bluest water ever (have been to the Caribbean and Hawaii). We thought the ship was very nice and the crew very friendly and nice (we like the smaller ships....2300 people) never too crowded. We liked how the buffet has multi islands of food rather than the cafeteria style buffet. Had Chinese restaurant we enjoyed and the others as well ! Would be nice if all bars / lounges (including the pool bar) had a "snack" (pretzels, peanuts, trail mix etc) at happy hour ! Would be nice if the early lounge game shows would also have a later show (in case you are eating or watching the main show). Would like more of the game shows. More hangers in the closet in the room. The overall experience we really enjoyed and can now cross these destinations off our bucket list ! Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We chose this cruise as friends that were travelling with us had Tahiti as a bucket list. The islands that we visited were wonderful. The ship was super clean and the food was excellent.Service was poor or lacking in many areas although ... Read More
We chose this cruise as friends that were travelling with us had Tahiti as a bucket list. The islands that we visited were wonderful. The ship was super clean and the food was excellent.Service was poor or lacking in many areas although our cabin steward was amazing and we tipped very well. Entertainment was disappointing with the odd exception. The cruise destinations were wonderful but we all felt the overall experience was not as good as we normally experience on Princess or Celebrity or Holland America. We had booked a mini suite and found it smaller than we thought and had a lighting issue sin the closet until our friends found the little red button at the back of the closet then there was light! Our friends were celebrating a big anniversary as were we and there was nothing much done by the ship. We did have a cake handed to us when we left the dining room one night. The wait staff were very good as a rule but the rest of staff not as friendly as we expected and we are very friendly people and polite at all times. We had a major problem on a ship tour and it was not addressed. The front desk people just said that they were sorry. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We had just completed a cruise on Celebrity from Hawaii to Sydney and loved it so when we saw this itinerary (much better) for a great price we decided to fly back to Hawaii and do it all again. Again embarkation in Honolulu was a ... Read More
We had just completed a cruise on Celebrity from Hawaii to Sydney and loved it so when we saw this itinerary (much better) for a great price we decided to fly back to Hawaii and do it all again. Again embarkation in Honolulu was a breeze. Sadly our upgrade bids failed and so did our attempts onboard, was surprising to find out the cruise was sold out as it had not been selling well when we booked last minute. It is our first time on Jewel but she is a carbon copy of the Jade so no issues with orientation. She is a little dated but is maintained well and was generally clean. As with other NCL ships in these classes the public area configuration means sometimes changing levels and there is a lack of public walkway space so on these longer cruises with an older clientele it can be slo moving at times. The positives of these ships are not too many passengers, the full promenade deck, the terrific views from Spinnaker lounge and the aft facing bar outside the buffet. The pool deck is a reasonable size for the number of passengers compared to their larger ships. There is a great variety of dining options. On this cruise smoking had been banned on the promenade deck which is fantastic but was a shame that they did not advertise it correctly so past passengers continually smoked out there despite there being no ashtrays and put everyone at risk by either throwing their butts overboard or extinguishing them on everything from paper packets to the ships dining ware (disgusting) and caused a lot of consternation between passengers and the smokers and the crew. I have no idea why the officers refused to put signs up rather than employ security staff who were regularly ignored. Again we were annoyed by the drinks tax issue NCL claims in USA ports, no other line charges these on drinks ordered under a pre paid drinks package - how can there be tax when there has been no transaction, NCL may as well charge you tax on your meals and accomodation under this logic, the hotel director could not explain this and the chief financial officer simply refused to meet us, we were told “it’s only $15” which is true but if you consider a small sum then you pay it! We had cabin 10,145 an inside which had an interesting configuration being parallel to the hallway but we enjoyed this as it seemed to utilise the space better, the cabin also felt modern. Unfortunately we had a junior steward who regularly forgot to deliver mail and laundry and often didn’t clear out dirty glasses and plates. Dining - was generally good. We find NCL is always behind other main lines like X and HAL but for the price paid was good quality with plenty of options. We tended to have breakfast in the buffet on the outside deck on port days or Osheehans for a change. Lunch on sea days we always dined in the mdr as we enjoy the views over the wake and the attentive service. Dinner in the Tsars palace was very good and the venue felt more spacious than on other ships, service was always top notch. When we felt like a change we alternated between Chin Chin and Osheehans which do tasty quick meals. The Chinese needs more vegetarian and seafood options. We don’t like the Azura mdr compared to Tsars as it feels dark and claustrophobic and the staff seem more rushed. As platinum members we get 2 specialty restaurants and we tried the French and the Italian- as on other ships we were treated like 2nd class citizens for dining under this program which is very strange and it certainly doesn’t incentivise us to pay for additional dining in these venues. Food and service in the French was good but only marginally better than the mdr so could not justify paying. The Italian is a nice space but the pizza is the same as in the buffet (slightly better toppings) and the rest of the food was decent without being outstanding. This cruise changed CDs on day 4 which I have never seen before and in our view it seemed to disrupt the flow the ship had attained. Dave the new CD seemed to moan about being back at work constantly and was constantly talking about cruising around Australia and NZ (this cruise didn’t go to those places - nor did the following one except for its final destination). Also, the activities seemed to be lessened on the changeover and considering we had 5 sea days in a row there was a complete lack of variety in activities (NCL seems to have gotten mundane in this area compared to Celebrity). Strangely they had a lot more activities on port days? On the plus side there was a couple of great matinee shows in particular by Igor the band leader and saxophonist. The production shows were well performed and the cast seemed very talented, I do feel like some semblance of a story line would be good but this is just nit picking. Guest entertainment was generally good, personally I don’t like ABBA so the 2 nights of identical show were a bit much, I also don’t go to hypnotist shows anymore (reports were that someone didn’t come out of it Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We booked this cruise for the itinerary - and the fact we could do back to back all the way to Sydney. We had a balcony cabin - number 9644 in this case It was perfectly fine but since the ship was in dry dock, the cabin has changed ... Read More
We booked this cruise for the itinerary - and the fact we could do back to back all the way to Sydney. We had a balcony cabin - number 9644 in this case It was perfectly fine but since the ship was in dry dock, the cabin has changed slightly in that only one side of the bed has a cabinet. This was a little awkward and I don't really understand why they did this. The storage was adequate with plenty of room under the bed for a hard body suitcase on each side and also the hand luggage trolley cases fit too. The bathroom was fine - my criteria of trying to not book cruises with shower curtains was fully met and so I was happy with that. Embarkation was perfectly fine with a small amount of queueing. We noticed that, if you have a disability of any kind, there was a separate area with seating so that is a "mind at rest" thing for some people. We were allowed into our cabins after a fairly short wait and the luggage arrived pretty quickly so that we could unpack and explore before attending the drill. We didn't have a dining package on this cruise and so used the main rooms and Chin Chin (our favourite because the service is just so much better than the other places, even though the menu is more limited). We also ate a couple of times in O'Sheehans, especially after getting back on the ship after a hard day's exploring. We did have some complaints including the ubiquitous "over-cooked fish" - I just don't get why, when you send it back, it comes back nearly every time perfectly cooked, they don't just do it that way the first time around. Its such a waste of food, but it was completely inedible on a number of occasions. I was also served some frozen potatoes which sort of explains the fish as they must pre-cook and freeze a lot of the dishes. I suppose that's fine for most things, after all it is mass-catering, but they need to work on it. We had attended the meet and greet and so had received the card with the phone numbers on. We used them and things improved a little, along with a little complimentary Sushi to apologise, which was very nice and unexpected. The ship had a lot of new crew on board and it was especially noticeable in Tsar's Palace dining room. They have to be trained, of course, but maybe don't put all of the new staff in the same place! Azura was better and the staff in there were much more upbeat and good at service. There were good staff in Tsar's Palace but, on this occasion, the atmosphere could be strained at times whereas the other venues didnt have that vibe. I'm sure it is temporary and will be back to normal once the staff find their feet. The shows were outstanding, as usual. In particular we loved Rock you Tonight, Anna and Vlad, Le Cirque Bijou and Velvet. The other shows were good, just these were great. The Tap Pack could become a favourite in time. The comedians and hypnotists were not to my taste but others enjoyed them. Overall the entertainment staff do a great job. A shout out to Dexter for the dance classes on sea days. We had a lot of sea days on this leg and so the enrichment programmes become important, especially when you have 2 or 3 days of not so good weather. We enjoyed the talks on Polynesian Art and the navigation and Atoll talks. We didn't ever use the pool or the sun loungers but I didn't hear any complaints. (I'm too pale to sit in that sort of sun unfortunately but I did enjoy sitting on my balcony in the shade and watching out for sea life - the pacific is so vast that we didn't see a single other ship on the 5 days at sea, only a couple of flying fish and one pod of dolphins but hey the colours of the sea and just the peace was great). We embarked in Oahu and had spent a couple of days beforehand exploring with friends who had hired a car. I can highly recommend a visit to Pearl Harbour and some shopping in Honolulu - there are some great deals to be had if you search them out! The Hawaii Islands were a great place to have some really good days out, Volcanos, Blow Holes, Mountains, Views, Beaches, Waterfalls - whatever you like you will find it. My own highlight was the sailaway from Nawiliwili and viewing the Napali Coast from the deck of the ship. What an awesome place. However, that wasn't the only highlight. I think my favourite was Kauai Island but its truly hard to chose. I don't know what excursions were on offer specifically from the ship but the usual comment about the price is in order. It cost us $280 over the full four islands for four of us - including hiring a car, petrol, entrance fees to whatever we wanted to see and some drinks - including coffees in McDs for the free wifi. That was $140 per couple. As far as I could see $140 per person per day was the average cost of the excursions in each port - just not good value for money at all. This needs to be fixed by the company. Nuku Hiva was pretty special - we had a beach day but there were other things to do. We didn't book any ships excursions on this leg of the trip and were certainly glad as they are completely overpriced. You can book on the dockside for around a third of the price and better if you have a large group as you have bargaining power. Mo'orea - booked a lagoon sailing with sharks and stingrays - utterly beautiful although I didn't swim with the sharks! Despite what was being claimed, I had read that three weeks earlier, in the exact same reefs, a woman had her hands and boobs eaten by a shark. While the people in the boats keep feeding them and the stingrays, they will continue to be a danger to human beings. After the tour we had a good wander and found a local beer (delicious). Raiatea - again booked a tour at the harbour and visited Marae Taputapuatea which was very spiritual. Pearls, Vanilla, Volcanic Craters, Rivers that are the sea as well. We saw children having swimming lessons with the fish around them. I think this was my favourite place of the whole trip but I loved it all tbh. Bora Bora - again got off the tender boat (which was always easy and there were few queues except first thing in the morning. We visited this port twice on the back to back so on this visit we did a land tour and met the delightful Delores (who used to be in the tank regiment just outside of Paris). We visited Bloody Mary's bar but didn't have a drink - although you could. I took the advice of friends and stayed off the beach area there as it is renowned for people being bitten by sand flies. The visit to the place where they hand make the Pareau ended in my purse being lightened as I couldn't resist one of the dresses they were selling. The views all around the island are stunning. We did a lagoon tour on the next visit so I shall cover that in my next review. Pape'ete Tahiti. - Not my favourite place of the tour but that may have been coloured by the poor showing on the tour we booked dockside. I'm not sure that any of the others, including the ships tours, were any better - I didn't hear anyone praising the place but it was still nice to see the island. This was the end of this part of the cruise and was disembarkation day. We had to change cabins and it was chaotic due to the card printing machine not working properly. I'm not sure why the crew couldn't have delivered the new key cards to the cabins as there was no checking of ID etc. It resulted in huge queues at the guest services desk where they were having to reprint nearly all of the cards as none of them seemed to work on board (although they did work so that you could get on and off the ship). There must be a better way and it will be interesting to see if it was any better in Sydney as there were quite a number of guests staying on until Auckland. There was very little wifi to be had once you left the accessibility of McD's or Starbucks in Hawaii. Bora Bora - there was a cafe not far from the port where you could pay $5 for 30 minutes but it was very slow. There was free wifi in the tourist information centre but it hardly ever worked. Pape'ete - there was good wifi in a cafe near the port, you just had to buy a drink and also there was free wifi in the tourist information centre, but I dont know if it was fast or not. If you can afford it I would upgrade your wifi packages on the ship if you need to be in contact with home for whatever reason. Nuku Hiva had wifi in the cafe on the port - free as long as you bought food - I'm not sure that anyone on a cruise needs to eat food in a port - but crack on if you can manage it. It certainly smelled good! We loved the cruise. Being from the UK, it means that these places are normally too far away so this was an ideal opportunity. We found the sea days fine, although the sea day in between Nuku Hiva and Mo'orea was a killer for us - nothing wrong with the ships entertainment, it was just a perception that this was definitely the longest day. We crossed the equator during this trip and they did the ceremony! We got wrapped in togas (bed sheets!) King Neptune granted us safe passage as long as we kissed the (most disgusting) fish and then submitted to a glug of slime. It was great fun although in 85% humidity the togas were a little on the warm side! We didn't have any children with us but there were some on the cruise. They genuinely seemed to having a great time - even the "too cool for school" teenagers! We hardly ever saw or heard them during the sea days which usually means there is plenty to do to keep them out of trouble and harms way. The Jewel is a lovely ship with some seriously nice crew who go out of their way to try to make sure you have a good time. The food is my only bug bear but it never is bad enough to spoil my adventures. I would go back no problem at all - where is that lottery ticket! Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Norwegian Jewel Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 4.1
Dining 4.0 3.7
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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