Sail Date: March 2018
We chose this cruise because of its itinerary (China & Japan were top of our list). Unfortunately, the itinerary changed several times before our departure, which took some of the shine off it (particularly the loss of an overnight ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of its itinerary (China & Japan were top of our list). Unfortunately, the itinerary changed several times before our departure, which took some of the shine off it (particularly the loss of an overnight stop at Beijing, which left us with very little time in between travelling from and to the port where the ship was docked), and the removal of a stop in South Korea (although this one was down to Chinese legislation) Embarkation was a bit of a nightmare, previous cruises we have been on, after checking in we have moved into a seperate 'holding area' waiting to board, but on this occasion everybody seemed to be hanging around together, making things rather confusing, blocking routes, etc. Once onboard things did improve, with the good points being as follows:- The public areas were always clean, the entertainment was very good compared to other cruises we have been on, and the bars and restaurants were plentiful and well stocked. One huge plus was the freedom dining, which allowed us to eat at whatever time we desired, with quite a few options to choose from (we were a group of 4 and we only had to wait once for a table, and that was for less than 10 minutes at one of the smaller complimentary restaurants). However, there were some negatives, as follows:- We had pre-booked some speciality restaurants prior to the cruise, but when we attended our first booking we were told that ALL online reservations had been lost (somewhere in cyber space no doubt). They did accommodate us on that first date, but only after a 40 minute wait and a gentle reminder from me that we were still waiting for a table. This first visit to was 3 days into the cruise, surely they would have known by that time that there was a problem with online reservations, and surely they could have made some sort of announcement...?? (our other reservations were re-booked, and all 4 restaurants we ate in were excellent, so no complaints after that initial problem) Some of the bar staff were a little rude, especially when my wife went to the bar (we have never come accross this on previous cruises, where 99.9% of bar staff have been brilliant) and a few of the customer service staff were even worse (not very helpful at all, in fact) The cabin, although adequate, was difficult to manouevre around, and the overhead bunk was a nightmare for me as I banged my shoulder on it many times when getting out of bed, despite it being 'stowed away'. The cruise ship's policy for passing through customs in Japan left a lot to be desired. It was explained through a flyer that every passenger required a 'face to face' inspection with a customs officer (pretty standard stuff at most ports, airports etc, you'd think). but the ship decided it was so complicated, we were to disembark at our first stop at pre-determined intervals, starting with the upper decks and working down to the lower decks. Great if your cabin was on deck 13 or 14, not so great if your cabin was on deck 5, like ours. If we had stuck to the ships plan, we would have been doing our 'face to face' (i.e. going through customs) over 2 and a half hours after the first passengers were allowed off. As we had pre-booked a private tour (costing a lot of money) I visited customer services to inform them that our party WOULD be leaving the boat at the time we had agreed to meet our tour guide (i.e. the time which NCL had said we would be docking at the port and allowing people off). After declining a 'free phonecall' to our guide to say we would be over 2 hours late, followed by several visits to the desk, and a refusal to give in (hence the comment earlier about the unhelpful staff) it was agreed to let us off earlier than our 'scheduled' time (but we were asked not to advertise the fact, so as not to upset other passengers on lower decks I presume!). One other thing, which didn't affect us but needs mentioning, was the lack of information provided by NCL prior to the cruise with regards visas. Fortunately we had done some research beforehand, and knew we needed visas, but there were several people onboard who could not leave the boat whilst in China because they didn't. One couple, we heard, were in their 80's and it had been their lifelong ambition to visit China but, because they were unaware that a visa was required, they had to stay on the boat. We also heard that another couple had even been turned away at the airport, so they didn't even get to go on the cruise. Can't say for certain if these stories are true, but I do know there were an awful lot of people stuck onboard while we were in China. Now it could be said that it was the passengers fault for not doing their research (and I agree to a certain extent), but we did a cruise last year to Thailand and Vietnam (similar countries to China and Japan in my opinion) and all the visas for that trip were sorted by the cruise ship (we just had to deposit our passports, and our cruise card effectively became our visa and passport). To be truthfully honest, I thought it would be exactly the same on this cruise, and it was only through a stroke of luck that we discovered a visa for China was required, otherwise we would have also been trapped onboard. So I can fully understand why some people may have not known they needed a visa. Surely an email from NCL a month or two before the cruise would easily have solved this problem, or at least made everybody aware? I've rambled on about the negatives but to be honest, we still had a fabulous time, and the cruise ship was generally great. Nothing is ever perfect, but most of the issues above could have been avoided, which would have made this cruise almost ... Read Less
Sail Date: March 2018
Retired couple with 20 + cruises many different cruise lines: Second time on the Jewel. Just OK. Food all restaurants greatly improved over last Jewel cruise (2014). Garden Buffet expanded in more and better entree selections. Le ... Read More
Retired couple with 20 + cruises many different cruise lines: Second time on the Jewel. Just OK. Food all restaurants greatly improved over last Jewel cruise (2014). Garden Buffet expanded in more and better entree selections. Le Bistro still our favorite. Proper cleanliness throughout the ship - male thermal suite always maintained well. Entertainment fair to poor. Same shows as 4 years ago. Music way to loud all venues. (When asked to pipe down upon port arrival [so we could enjoy Japan's Pier Greeting Performance by musicians and dancers] the topside pool musicians said no because its in our contract. Ruined the arrival for many.) This being an Orient cruise only 1 local entertainment brought on board although we ported at 8 different piers. Most disappointing. Cabin bedding terrible -- Norwegian changed mattresses for us and still could see the slump in the beds. Felt like sleeping in a hammock. Service charges are non-stop. Though our service charges were paid up front, still hit up with charges every time we orderrd a drink, food, or activity. These are a major rip off for all cruisers. Unusually long waits for NCL sponsored Destination Tours, and long lines on-board to book these tours. Do so before sailing. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2018
In 2016, we enjoyed our earlier cruise with NCL Star for 21 days in a Suite and had absolutely no issues. This is what enticed us to take another cruise with Norwegian. This cruise with Jewel was only for 11 days from March 21 to April 1, ... Read More
In 2016, we enjoyed our earlier cruise with NCL Star for 21 days in a Suite and had absolutely no issues. This is what enticed us to take another cruise with Norwegian. This cruise with Jewel was only for 11 days from March 21 to April 1, 2018. The best part of the cruise is the fact that our Mini-Suite was kept immaculately tidy by our steward. The whole ship always looked tidy. Unfortunately, the positives stop there. NCL Jewel is a highly disorganized ship and the reasons are as follows: (1) from the initial port in HK up to disembarkation. People in HK were not even properly identified as NCL staff. They were grabbing the suitcases from our hotel limo as we arrived. (2)Furthermore, NO ONE in the check in counter in HK knew what Latitudes was. Only those in the Suites were assisted even if the Latitudes program supposedly provided for assistance on embarkation for those in Gold upwards (3)Restaurant reservation made online prior to the start of the cruise did not sync with the ship's system. Hence, I just wasted all that time planning the restaurants that we wanted to dine in. (4)The worst part is the staff at Azura ( on the first night) were demanding a print out from me for the proof of my reservation. I obviously do not walk around with hard copies of the reservation when it is supposed to be in their system as per my NCL account. I did not appreciate this because there were other patrons behind and I never expected to be treated in such fashion when the meal in question is an inclusion and not even a specialty restaurant. I later found out that the whole reservation system was not working for the entire length of the cruise(5) Water purchased in advance were not delivered to our room until after 3 follow ups. We were told that it would be delivered the next day which is unacceptable as my husband and I require such for our medication. (6) Shore excursion organizers at the start were not organized with guests even requesting that a line be formed during the process. This is disappointing as the staff should have organized the whole process better. I started wondering if they had trainees organizing these excursions. Also, some guests of the boat were complaining that the ship ran out of shore excursion openings for most of the tours. It is only for 11 days – how can they get it so wrong. (7) Room service did not deliver an order for nearly 3 hours because they supposedly failed to get our room number. We could not have our breakfast at the restaurants that morning as we were dealing with a family emergency over the phones. This was the height of how dysfunctional room service was. To order for beer at around 10 pm would take at least an hour to be delivered. (8) Food in the specialty restaurants are mostly SALTY. The dishes we enjoyed at the NCL Star are also offered at the Jewel but for some reason almost everything is about 3 times saltier. This made most of our dining experiences not enjoyable. Menus in the main dining areas/complimentary do not change at all. Azura and Tsar have near similar menus ( 9) Staff in the Garden Cafe are NOT very helpful and would really rather stand around than assist guests when the place is packed during meal time. The same goes with Azura. The staff members seem to be overwhelmed during peak times. Hence, guests are left waiting to be attended to. We dined there twice and it is sad to see that the main dining area could hardly cope and not get its act together. (10) As we had to leave the ship earlier than scheduled due to a family emergency, we had to disembark by ourselves. We have paid for the cruise until 01 April but had to leave by 30 March. We were supposed to disembark at around 11 am as our flight was at 3:00 pm. By 9:30 am, housekeeping wanted to check if we were still in our rooms. Yes, the very same room that we have paid for in full till April 1 including the unlimited internet charges I have paid for UNTIL April 1. An hour later, someone in guest relations also went to our room to check if we were still around. This was weird because they all knew we were only leaving past 11 am. I could not understand why they were rushing to get us out when the ship will still be docked until 7 or 8 pm in Kobe. Later, the disembarkation officer was VERY VERY rude and even raised her voice infront of everyone when I said that all I wanted was to get out of this ship once and for all. She should not be in hospitality if that is how she treats guests. Prior to our disembarkation and after having raised some of the issues above with customer relations, the Hotel Director Steven even offered to compensate us with US$200 off our bill for all the inconveniences we encountered. We find that insulting as we did not raise our issues to get freebies. We actually look down on people who try to pull that sort of stuff. In the long run, we believe people with legitimate issues suffer when an establishment assumes that people only whinge because they want to get freebies. We declined the offer and told him to use the funds instead towards boosting staff training and morale. He also later on sent a bottle of wine and some chocolates to our Mini- Suite. We also sent that back and politely said thank you BUT no thank you to the messenger. Over-all we regret taking this cruise. It was only for 11 days but I think it stressed us out in the 9 days that we were inside that ship. We were so impressed with NCL Star that we even made 3 CruiseNext deposits in 2016. We are not regretting that decision. Since coming back to Australia, we have read some reviews other passengers have given Jewel and all I can conclude is that we are not alone with our findings. They also are the same with the sentiments of most of the people we interacted with on the boat. Most of them even swearing this would be the final time with NCL. I hope I am wrong to assume that NCL only treats guests from the Suites better than the rest. If someone in a Mini Suite this time cannot get decent satisfaction from a cruise liner then I don’t know what hope the other guests in the lower decks would feel. The ship is running very poorly because of low staff morale and inadequate training. Suffice to say, I will surely think thrice before recommending this vessel for a cruise. The Jewel is destroying the NCL brand and needs an overhaul. It has management and staff issues. We have cruised with both Princess and Celebrity on both levels, Suite and Mini Suite, and had absolutely none of these issues. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2018
We did a back to back to back Sydney to Yokohama so this review is for the last leg, Hong Kong to Yokohama. The Jewel is now quite old and in need of a refit but provides a good cruising experience with lounges and restaurants to suit all ... Read More
We did a back to back to back Sydney to Yokohama so this review is for the last leg, Hong Kong to Yokohama. The Jewel is now quite old and in need of a refit but provides a good cruising experience with lounges and restaurants to suit all tastes. Our inside cabin was adequate and our cabin steward did his best. Dining was generally good. The two main restaurants were fine, the buffet (Market cafe) often a scrum but the food was good. The speciality restaurants were good. Service was generally good, some outstanding, some poor. Entertainment became a bit samey but we were on the ship for 40 nights so that was to be expected. Ports on this leg of the cruise were great. We did not take any NCL excursions but seldom heard anything good from those who did take them so this is an area on this ship that NCL should look carefully at. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2018
seemed a good price for what was offered, 4 of us booked together for the south east asia cruise, asking for cabins at least on the same deck as we have always had on previous events cruises with ncl, royal caribbean and p and o. well we ... Read More
seemed a good price for what was offered, 4 of us booked together for the south east asia cruise, asking for cabins at least on the same deck as we have always had on previous events cruises with ncl, royal caribbean and p and o. well we were at the front on deck 5 and our friends were aft on deck 8. we spoke to infinity cruises who we booked through, the paperwork and organisation for infinity leaves a lot to be desired(at one time we had 2 extra people on our booking we had never heard off) they said it was the fault of ncl, ncl said it was infinity’s fault but offered to upgrade us for £700 per person(they must have thought that we would be happy to be ripped off) eventually we boarded the jewel, cafe and restaurant staff were top quality, customer services were also excellent as were the bar staff, food really good. trying to get a seat in the garden cafe at times was impossible, spent a lot of time wandering round trying to find seats. shore excursion staff had no idea about the places we were visiting, and got the feeling one of the staff was full of his own importance. communication was awful, the morning announcement over the speaker system was next to useless as you could not hear a word in the garden cafe, thought a member of staff would have told someone. the cabin was noisy, window was misted up so did not see a lot sometimes, the housekeeper i think did his own thing, 15 20 on 2 days before the room was made up, think he had difficulty getting up in the morning, was not the best housekeeper we have had by a mile. towards the end they ran out of some draught and bottled bears, and soft drinks. the organisation for the trips was chaos with everyone queuing up to wait in the theatre at once. we were told to collect our passports between 5 am and 7 am (yes 5am 7am) on the day we disembark, but then changed their minds and made it after 2pm the day we were in. altogether we have cruise 6 times with ncl, but this ship seemed dysfunctional with no coordination, will not go with ncl again, or will we book through infinity. i must say that the entertainment was first class. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2018
We did back to back to back Sydney to Yokohama so this review is for the Singapore to Hong Kong part of the cruise. By this time we had had a poor experience Sydney to Singapore. Luckily the Hotel Director Claus left the ship and a new one ... Read More
We did back to back to back Sydney to Yokohama so this review is for the Singapore to Hong Kong part of the cruise. By this time we had had a poor experience Sydney to Singapore. Luckily the Hotel Director Claus left the ship and a new one arrived - Stephen - who was much better. He immediately realised that he had inherited a poor cruise and set about changes which improved the quality of the experience, arranging back to back events and generally sorting out the tendering and port arrangements. We had a much better experience, back to the usual standard we expect from NCL. The ship is in need of a refurb - planned - but generally the experience was good. Cabin was good for an inside. Steward good. Most of the crew were excellent, a few poor experiences but thats how it goes. Entertainment could be improved substantially - 'Dan the Man' not quite the invisible man as he can be but he was also new (from Sydney) so perhaps inherited a poor plan. Our own planned shore excursions were great, NCLs not so and the onboard team needs to be broken up and refreshed. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2018
We chose 5his cruise because of the itinerary. Asia. We started in Singapore. Embarkation was easy and quick. Lunch in the dining room seemed to take forever, but since 5he cabins weren’t ready, it didn’t really matter. We ... Read More
We chose 5his cruise because of the itinerary. Asia. We started in Singapore. Embarkation was easy and quick. Lunch in the dining room seemed to take forever, but since 5he cabins weren’t ready, it didn’t really matter. We found out at that time that no bread is served with lunch entrees unless you ask for it. Dinner was supposed to start at 5, but because of the life boat drill, the room wasn’t set up until almost 6. It would have been nice if one of the many staff coming and going would have mentioned that. The second day on board, we went to lunch in the dining room and got the same menu as the first day. We told our server about it thinking it was a mistake. She said the lunch in the dining room is always the same. But since there are several dishes to choose from, that makes it different. We ate in the buffet from then on. The buffet was almost as bad or maybe worse when you consider that nothing was really fresh, except the fruit. Grilled cheese sandwiches were made one day for breakfast. All of them on display were hard and cold. I asked if they had new ones. The server opened a cooler door and pulled out already grilled cheese sandwiches and gave me one. It was not crisp or even warm. Many of the buffet dishes were like that; pre-made and stored until needed. They didn’t even rotate items. They just filled in the empty slots with items they pulled out of storage. Plus everything was the same day after day with about 8 items that changed depending on the theme of the day. Very disappointing. Our room was ok. Bed sagged in the middle and was a little lumpy. I slept ok on most nights. Our cabin steward did a good job cleaning our room, but e often didn’t get around to us until late morning. Most times our room was not turned down until well after dinner. Since the entertainment was only so so most nights, that meant we either had to leave the room again, or skip turn down service. Burn the Floor and Le Cirque Bijou were AWESOME!, the best shows we’ve ever seen on a cruise ship. The rest of the entertainment was typical cruise ship singing, comedy and magic. Things to do during the day included things like sexy leg contest, trivia and bingo. They tried to do a painting class, but the instructors didn’t really have the experience to teach the class. There was no help or guidance. The subjects were too complicated and the time limit too short for beginner painters. People didn’t tend to sign up twice. Too bad because I was looking forward to that. The rest of the things to do involved either spending money or dumbing yourself down to actually enjoy. Things like the not so newly wed game was just an attempt to humiliate yourself to win a t-shirt. Not what I call fun. We took a shore excursion to visit a castle in Kyoto Japan, plus a pagoda. The write up sounded like something we’d like. After all, it’s a UNESCO site. Well, it was a 2 hour bus ride to the first site. Along the way our guide tried to engage us in learning more about the places we were going to see, but her accent was so pronounced that we could only interpret one word out of 4. About half of our bus was German, so they talked when she talked making that much harder to hear her. The castle was just an old wooden square separated by painted panels into square rooms. It might have meant more if we had time to read the placques next to each room. NCL had at least 10 buses doing this trip, so the castle was crowded. I got shoved many times during our visit. Lunch, however, was Amazing! It was another boring 2 hour ride back to the ship. Overall, the tour was not worth the time and definitely not worth the money. We are Platinum Plus latitudes reward members. We have seen the experience of cruising with NCL go from excellent to average. We’d say they’re a half step up from Carnival cruises. That may change since we’ve heard that Carnival is improving. We have no plans to sail with NCL again. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2018
We have sailed on Norwegian many times. I really enjoy the Jewel Class ships. When I saw this itinerary I was excited. The ship itself is showing its wear but I believe it is up for dry dock after it goes to Alaska this season. You ... Read More
We have sailed on Norwegian many times. I really enjoy the Jewel Class ships. When I saw this itinerary I was excited. The ship itself is showing its wear but I believe it is up for dry dock after it goes to Alaska this season. You couldn't beat the itinerary. We started in Singapore has two stops in Thailand and three in Vietnam before ending on Hong Kong. I had done some research on the port before we started so I know most of them were industrial and we would need to be bused to any sightseeing or cities. Knowing this going in was helpful. This isn't like the Caribbean where you can just walk off the ship and everything is there. We did ship tours for all the stop except Bangkok. We were glad we had ship tour for the tender ports. No worry about getting tender tickets and making it to your private excursions. NCL did a good job with the tours themselves. The guides spoke very good English. We heard some private tours were not easy to understand. We however could have been provided water on the excursions. We were told we could not take water off the ship and were not offered any during the tour or be directed where to buy some. It was hot so water was essential. The nightly shows were top notch. There were two Burn the Floor performances. I was surprised at that because I thought they were only on the Breakaway class ships. I was a bit disappointed in the nightly cruise staff directed game shows. I generally really enjoy them and they seemed to be lacking on this ship. It was an older crowd so I understand the evening entertainment was directed towards them but the pace of the entertainment other than the nightly theater show was very slow. The food on the ship was good. I wouldn't say gourmet but that wasn't my expectation. We ate at Cagney's and Modero with our Latitudes benefit. Generally we don't pay for the specialty restaurants and would not have if it had not been free. If you are meat eater Modero and Cagney's is pretty good. I really enjoy their salad bar and sides. But for us paying extra for it is just not worth it. For some it probably is. We never had to wait at the main dining room. We generally ate about 6PM. We saw lines a little later but it appeared to be moving quickly. Overall it was a great trip. We enjoyed see all the different cultures at all the ports. We have already booked our next cruise with NCL. I know these ports were new to them so they were learning how to navigate. I give the staff props for getting out passports back to us the night before the cruise ended. They cleared customs with Hong Kong on the ship so basically we got our luggage and walked off the ship. Very easy Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
Loved it! We have never cruised before and, although l was sea sick for most of the time, we had no issues with the boat or the staff. Lovely staff who couldn't do enough for my family, especially my 5 year old twins. My girls ... Read More
Loved it! We have never cruised before and, although l was sea sick for most of the time, we had no issues with the boat or the staff. Lovely staff who couldn't do enough for my family, especially my 5 year old twins. My girls attended the Kids Club, but as there were not many children on board, most of the programs did not run as scheduled. More than enough entertainment to keep you busy each day. We only have 4 sea days, but l never felt bored. I was ore than happy though l use the pool or sit on one of the chairs on the promenade. I heard one couple complain that water was not included in the drinks package, but considering that you could walk down to a bar and grab an ice cold water at any time, l didn't see how that was a big deal. They also mentioned that coffees from the cafe were not included, but l wasn't a fan of the coffees there so that wouldn't bother me! My husband and l were a bit worried about the quality of the food, especially in the buffer (as the videos that we had seen online did not make the food look very appealing) but the restaurants including the Garden Cafe buffet were excellent. Always fresh and so much to chose from. If you could find something that liked to eat, then you weren't trying! We particularly loved Azura's restaurant, excellent food and wonderful service. Our cabin was an inside stateroom. It was only small, as expected but more than enough room to sit around a watch tv. We had a quad room, it there were 2 single beds (pushed together to make a double), a fold down single from the wall and a roll out single. More than enough room! And who wants to sit in their room anyway!!! Overall, l would definitely recommend this boat and particularly this itinerary to others. The countries we visited are some of my favourites (Vietnam, Thailand) and we would happily cruise with NCL again! Thankyou to everyone for a great trip!!! Read Less
Sail Date: February 2018
This is the third review i've been asked to do for this cruise which we booked as a 40 nighter but the cruise was back to back to back so this review is for the first 18 days Sydney to Singapore which was poor. The cruises improved over ... Read More
This is the third review i've been asked to do for this cruise which we booked as a 40 nighter but the cruise was back to back to back so this review is for the first 18 days Sydney to Singapore which was poor. The cruises improved over time so the Singapore to Hong Long leg was better and the Hong Kong to Yokohama better still. This first part of the cruise was ruined by poor port choices, inept tendering, lack of thought through transport links, poor teamwork between NCL functions on board, an incompetent hotel director and underperforming shore excursions team. The Jewel is a good ship with nice facilities in need of a refurb. Our cabin was good, most of the crew we engaged with excellent, dining was good in the main, entertainment adequate at times, good or better on occasion. Quizzes were good. Most of the entertainment staff were engaging. Read Less
Norwegian Jewel Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 4.2
Dining 4.0 3.8
Entertainment 4.0 4.1
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family 4.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.8
Enrichment 1.0 3.4
Service 3.0 4.2
Value For Money 4.0 3.9
Rates 3.0 4.1

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