Sail Date: December 2018
We had always wanted to visit Australia and New Zealand and we are glad Norwegian had this cruise. It’s a memorable trip. We enjoyed exploring the port cities although four sea-days to and from are a bit long. This was our fifth ... Read More
We had always wanted to visit Australia and New Zealand and we are glad Norwegian had this cruise. It’s a memorable trip. We enjoyed exploring the port cities although four sea-days to and from are a bit long. This was our fifth cruise with Norwegian and first feedback in reply per your request. We had many good experiences on the ship and some were not so nice. The Good We enjoyed the entertainment…the movie, the comedy, including the hypnotist’s comedy shows, some of the music, such as the Showband performance (although a bit loud for the small area at the Bliss), the “Behind Scene” talk by cruise director Dave (who is very funny), the various daily trivia, etc. In addition, my husband enjoyed the ping pong tournaments. We liked Capitan Kenneth’s humorous morning briefings on the PA system when we were in the quieter spots and could hear him. The house keeping was nice as always. From our guy, Jun, to the Hotel Director Steven Jacobson, everyone was courteous, pleasant, and helpful. We met Mr. Jacobson about six years ago on our Baltic Capital cruise. He had always been very friendly, efficient, and solved our problems in a timely manner. We appreciated his no-matter-large-or-small problem-solving ethic. The Bad This was the first cruise we were on that had a public health issue. A few days into the trip a lots of people got sick with gastro intestinal issues and the CDC had to be contacted. As a result the Garden Café became a jungle because we couldn’t self-serve and the staff was not prepared. Trying to get the staff’s attention when we needed something at their serving area was a challenge. Many times a few of them standing behind the counter chit chatting without noticing people patiently standing there, waiting for them to spoon food onto our plates. One server behind the counter was rather rude to me when he could not understand what chicken “dark meat” was. We gave up on the Café eventually and went to the Tsar’s Palace restaurants to eat. Because of the health issues they had removed the salt, pepper, etc. from the tables. The serving staff never asked if anyone needed anything else beside taking our orders and delivering our food. If we didn’t ask for salt and pepper when we ordered food, it became hard to catch the attention of the servers for the condiments, especially sometimes it seemed the cook forgot to add salt in the food. So after our food was served and the servers disappeared we had a warm meal we could not season. When they did reappear and came back with salt and pepper our food was cold. Even empty water glasses were often neglected. We understand the staff was put to extra task. My husband brought this to the attention of the head of the wait staff but nothing changed. We took all that in strides thinking if it kept us healthy so be it until one evening during dinner, my husband and three of the four of our table mates ran out of drinking water. They tried in vain to catch the attention of the servers. Many of them, not all, weaved around the tables back and forth without making eye-contact with diners. My husband went through (Agent Orange caused) throat cancer treatment some years ago so he always needed liquid to help swallowing. Due to lack of water, he choked on a bite and the food backed up and ran out of his mouth and nose onto his plate. He had to give up the contaminated food on the plate and left after eating only half of his dinner. It was very embracing for him as well as our table mates. So we gave up on sharing a table with fellow guests for the rest of the trip. The Ugly My luck didn’t improve much in the Tsar’s than that in the Garden Café. On Dec. 5 (I think that was the date) I ordered the arugula and candied pecan salad. In the middle of it, I found a dead fly on the green leaves. I did my best to suppress a gag and showed the disgusting salad to our server. She took my plate and said she’d show it to her supervisor. Toward the end of the dinner, supervisor, a young Indian guy, came to speak to us. All he mentioned was: this kind of thing happens. He was right but an apology at the time would have been nice. The next morning, we received some chocolate covered strawberries and a note of apology from his department. The next day, after we returned from our excursion, we saw many big flies flying around inside the windows of the Garden Cafe. I was not confident about the cleanness of the food from the kitchen after finding the fly in my salad, and doubted more about the cleanliness after seeing all the flies in the Garden Café and no one did anything about them. The flies could be one of the factors that caused people to get sick. We also feel short changed with the number of reward points given (one per day). When I booked the trip I'm sure I saw two points per day, I'm also pretty sure I saw an offer of 5 free at sea, but I didn't receive them, neither. I should receive 12 additional points for my days on the floating Petri dish. As a whole, this cruise to New Zealand was delightful with lots of room for improvement. We hope Norwegian’s food as well as the staff training will be improved. (Sorry, Princess cruise has better food.) Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Norwegian Jewel departing Sydney on December 1st 2018 to New Zealand for 12 nights. My husband and I booked only 6 weeks prior to the departure date and managed to get a great deal on a mini-suite. The ship had been in dry dock immediately ... Read More
Norwegian Jewel departing Sydney on December 1st 2018 to New Zealand for 12 nights. My husband and I booked only 6 weeks prior to the departure date and managed to get a great deal on a mini-suite. The ship had been in dry dock immediately prior to our cruise so everything was fresh and clean. Embarkation - the embarkation and disembarkation processes were extremely quick and painless. Dining - Norwegian does Freestyle Dining which means you can really choose when and where you want to have dinner. For complementary dining, there are 2 main dining rooms - Azura and Tsar's Palace, a chinese restaurant called Chin Chin, an Irish pub called O'Sheehan's (get it? O'Sheehan's! O-ceans!! Hmmm...my husband didn't get it either...) and of course the buffet in the Garden Cafe. For lunch options, you can also go to the Great Outdoors or the Pool Deck. Azura and Tsar's have the same menu and share a massive galley that runs between them on deck 6 - quite impressive. We preferred Tsars - bigger, airier, more atmosphere, lovely views. It's also nice to go there for a more formal breakfast as a change from the buffet. We were not impressed with Chin Chin at all and wondered how it rated with the many asian passengers on board. O'Sheehan's had a small but impressive menu and was a nice change from the more formal dining. The Garden Cafe buffet is well presented with great varieties of food, however we only ate there for breakfast and lunch. As well as the complementary dining options, there are several a la carte or cover fee restaurants to choose from. The prices are very reasonable and you can also buy dining packages from the NCL website which are very worthwhile. We bought a 3 restaurant package and went to Cagney's - a steak house, Le Bistro - french, and Teppenyaki - japanese. We were also given an extra dinner by guest services and chose La Cucina - Italian. There is also Moderna - brazilian and a sushi restaurant. Cagney's was ok - it was the first night and perhaps we chose the wrong dishes. I was a little underwhelmed. Le Bistro gets our vote for the best meal of the cruise. Rack of lamb was divine! As was the creme brulee. The teppenyaki experience is a must and the food is plentiful and delicious. A close 2nd to Le Bistro. La Cucina was disappointing but again, it may have been due to my selection. I must also say that I am gluten and dairy free. Once that was made clear, a food allergies waitress visited me after every meal to check how the meal was and to bring the next night's menu so I could pre-order. As I had made bookings at all the restaurants online before I left (which are changeable if you want), she knew where I was going to be each night. Having a special creme brulee made with soy milk just for me was a real treat and I requested it most nights! Now, where's that gym.... We didn't buy a drinks package as we are not huge drinkers but on the 1st night we ordered a bottle of wine. After the waitress brought it to us and charged it to our room, she told us about the wine packages available. We decided to get a 4 bottle package for $88 + 20%. I told her that I wanted the 1st bottle of the 4 to be the one she had already served. She was not happy about it and did let us know that it was going to be a real hassle doing that. I just smiled and said "well that's great. I don't mind waiting while you fix it up". To her credit she did refund the bottle and incorporate it into the package. BTW the bottle we ordered retails in Australia for about AU$25. The single bottle price including gratuity was US$42 - that's about AU$58. Nice markup! The cruise director and his team work hard and are friendly and accommodating. Sometimes I found their exuberance a little overbearing but on the whole they did a great job. I attended a couple of the various trivia sessions, bingo and even checked out "Bandaoke" - like karaoke but with a real band. The Stardust theatre is beautiful and seats probably 1000. The production team consists of 4 singers, 8 dancers, 4 aerialists and a guest singer who is in the 1st production show then does her own show. Although she has a tremendous voice, her show was the weakest. She unfortunately had some technical issues that she did not handle gracefully and the rest of the show fell apart as it wasn't very structured in the first place. To be honest I found she was also a bit loud and annoying around the ship, especially when we were trying to enjoy the peaceful tranquility of the Milford Sound! The 3 production shows were top class. The aerialists also have their own show which is stunning. The guest entertainers were not bad - some better than others. They change all the time so I won't critique them personally. In bars around the ship were a duo called Spoken Two - their repertoire changed impressively every night, a solo female singer/guitarist, a solo male singer/pianist, and a Filipino pop band called Prism. We didn't hear too much of these performers except when we were in transit from one end to the other but they all sounded good and were well received. The show band also played other gigs besides the production shows and did a great job. The service staff are mainly from the Phillipines along with others from India and various South American or Caribbean countries. All were extremely friendly and willing to help. We did not book any shore excursions as we find them too expensive and would rather explore places on our own. This was our 2nd cruise to NZ in as many years, with the last cruise being on Celebrity Solstice. It's hard not to compare, and although I enjoyed this cruise very much, I would give the gong to Solstice for many reasons. The main reason is the outdoor layout - there were no lounges in the shade areas. There were all in the sun or in quite exposed and windy areas and the only seating in the shade were tables and chairs. Consequently I tended to stay in our cabin and used our balcony more. I would have gone to the Spinnaker lounge more but there were often activities on that were loud and not conducive to reading and relaxing - trivia, dance classes, bingo etc. There is a games/card room that was well occupied and also a library. The library was ok - not a cosy nook, just a room with books and chairs really. If the price is right, I would definitely travel on Norwegian Jewel again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
Cruise special was offered in the Sunday paper offering flights from Sydney to Singapore, over night accommodation and cruise. Norwegian cruise line also offered a choice of drinks package, fine dining, wifi or fine dining for free. ... Read More
Cruise special was offered in the Sunday paper offering flights from Sydney to Singapore, over night accommodation and cruise. Norwegian cruise line also offered a choice of drinks package, fine dining, wifi or fine dining for free. Cruises that are value for money are important for us as we are retired. The Norwegian Jewel was scheduled to be fully refurbished in Singapore the two weeks prior to our sailing date. This included stripping out all areas of the ship. From some of the photos that staff showed us this was a huge task but this resulted in all the bars, dining and all public area were completely new including furniture. Some work was done in cabins but as we have not travelled on this ship before we did not know the extent of the work. One addition we did like was the addition of USB ports in each cabin. The other area of the cabin we liked was the full size shower cubicle. As Australians we had been to most ports on this cruise but Komodo Island was a very interesting port. We would be happy to travel on this ship again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
We have cruises in this area twice already now with an alternative line, and have also been on NCL Jade twice over the years Post dry dock the new look and feel of the ship is excellent. It feels fresh and really like the “toned ... Read More
We have cruises in this area twice already now with an alternative line, and have also been on NCL Jade twice over the years Post dry dock the new look and feel of the ship is excellent. It feels fresh and really like the “toned down” decor. The introduction of the Irish bar in particular is a great thing, and was a good central hub of activity right above the atrium We found the food to be excellent in Main Dining Room, such that we didn’t use specialty restaurants at all (we usually would do several times in a week). Generally service from the staff was excellent Smooth weeks sailing too.... so all very positive HOWEVER, there were some issues 1. Boarding at Singapore was a fiasco. We got off lightly with 2 hours of waiting and queuing, but some fared worse than we did. I’d have expected some niggles maybe as it was first run since dry dock, but the embarkation staff clearly didn’t have a clue how to process passengers and this created a huge backlog. 2. I suspect there were some “niggles” post dry dock. Our Air Condifioning wasn’t really working on arrival, it took 4 contacts including a late night (1am) rant at Guest Services to get any improvement. It did improve eventually but given the climate in that region I’d hardly call the cabin a sanctuary to rest and cool down as it usually is on board 3. MASSIVE failure in Kuala Lumpur. I’ve no idea what or why but literally just before getting off on day 1 we were told due to “operational issues with immigration in Singapore” our departure on day 2 had to be brought forward from 14:00 to 09:00. We had booked a hotel to stay off board that night, that plan was totally ruined given the distance from city to port made it to pressured in the morning. When we did depart on day 2 the ship limped along at barely any speed, so I am not sure why we couldn’t have stayed longer - I really suspect something undisclosed was the issue that forced us to leave early on the highlight stop of the trip Overall we had a good time (British couple, mid 30s). The demographic on board was older and far more British than we are used to with NCL, and this affected the atmosphere on board. The “white hot party” was rubbish basically compared to others we have done, and the Cruise Director and his staff were rarely seen in the week (we didn’t do any shows, guess he was hiding there) So overall NCL severly let themselves down with this one. Great refreshed ship, food and service - but cruising is a huge experience holiday where logistics matter, and NCL failed completely throughout the week with this Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2018
Our first cruise outside North America. We had ultimate beverage package, and 3 specialty dinners. We are late 50s and on this cruise probably were among the “younger passengers “. The weather was great during entire week. The ... Read More
Our first cruise outside North America. We had ultimate beverage package, and 3 specialty dinners. We are late 50s and on this cruise probably were among the “younger passengers “. The weather was great during entire week. The service level and food is not as good as in bigger NCL ships and in the US. Some of the Waiters and Bar staff were not exactly rude but certainly not friendly either. Same goes for the cabin service. We dined twice in teppanyaki restaurant which we knew to be very good. Complimentary restaurants for dinner were not good which we also knew from previous experience. Garden cafe selection is wide enough to get something nice to eat during day time. Salad selection could have been wider. The Ship is nice and well kept/ renovated. Very clean. Evening show was excellent, much better than what we have seen before on other NCL ships. Besides the main show in the evenings the ship seemed to be fairly quiet , meaning no one was keeping the show in the pool area or other public areas. Band was occasionally playing. There was a piano in the main atrium but did not see anyone playing it. We did one shore excursion, Panoramas of Kuala Lumpur. It was Ok, local guide Rose was good. There were surprisingly many delays and changes in sailing schedule and no obvious reason (for ex weather). In general this was a nice cruise for a couple who likes reading books in quiet but if you’re a party animal you might be bored. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2018
Tokyo-singapore oct 18. this was my first cruise, undertaken with a group of 14 family/friends. Whilst we really enjoyed the cruise overall, a few of the ports certainly left a lot to be desired, being quite a distance from any large ... Read More
Tokyo-singapore oct 18. this was my first cruise, undertaken with a group of 14 family/friends. Whilst we really enjoyed the cruise overall, a few of the ports certainly left a lot to be desired, being quite a distance from any large cities (Bangkok was a 3-4 hr drive!) & as stated in some previous reviews, the tendering process was a nightmare & in one instance (Koh Samui), downright dangerous when trying to reboard the ship. Sihanoukville in Cambodia was probably the worst, atrocious roads & flithy, smelly markets. Why NCL would think this was a good tourist destination astounds me, & to make matters worse, they charged $89USD per person for a visa, regardless of whether or not you stayed on board (according to the cambodian website, visas are approx $38USD). On the plus side, we found the ship facilities very good. Our cabin (deck 5 midship) was cleaned spotlessly every day with the steward checking each evening whether we required anything. The restaurants & bars were never too busy to get seating, though we did book a couple of times being such a large group. We only dined once in Azure & whilst the food was tasty, it was only just warm. Cagneys & the Tepanyaki were definately highlights. Staff were all friendly & helpful & there seemed to be onboard activities most of the day if you wished to participate. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We chose this trip for the itinerary. We recently retired and we were hopeing for a trip of a lifetime. Overall the itinerary was a good one with stops in very interesting ports. However, we have sailed with Norwegian 6 times now and ... Read More
We chose this trip for the itinerary. We recently retired and we were hopeing for a trip of a lifetime. Overall the itinerary was a good one with stops in very interesting ports. However, we have sailed with Norwegian 6 times now and this was probably the least organized in terms of shore excursions that we have ever been on. We found the shore excursions to be rated incorrectly in terms of difficulty. The weather in South East Asia is oppressively hot, and even though the ship recommends staying hydrated on the side trips, we were not allow to take water on or off the ship in most ports of call. In most circumstances the tours lasted 4-6 hours and many without water or even a small boxed lunch. Would it be too much to ask for NCL to throw us a some water and a banana? One poor gentleman actually passed out in Bangkok due to the heat and dehydration. The days that we had to be tendered in to the shore were nightmares! Neither the shore excursion crew were organized nor the buses etc. at the port. The tenders are HOT and uncomfortable and NCL consistently feels the need to PACK the tender full of people before leaving the ship. In Cambodia we chose to take the Level1 shore excursion through Ream Naitonal Park. It was "billed" as a boat ride and tour of the countryside. In our group we had a woman with broken ribs and another walking with a cane. The boats were slippery and difficult to get in and out of. But that wasn't the worse of it. When we got out of the boats we were literally in the middle of nowhere, with a guide that spoke very little english, who led the group on a one+ mile hike through rice fields, across duck boards, through marshes and through mud and muck. I truly have no idea how the woman with the cane made the trip. We stopped at little hut that was a school where cute Cambodian children sang to us and showed us how they write their language. Then we hiked another 1+ mile or so through some very tretuous and muddy paths to find the bus. We were not provided ANY water or any food this entire trip. The native people did provide us a sample of fruit if you dared to eat it. Many people were bitten by ants and scraped up with nettles. One person slipped on the mud upon leaving. It was NO LEVEL 1 - that's for sure. And we found this to be true with several other shore excursions as well. Overall the trip was lovely, but the ship was also headed into dry dock at Singapore and we got the sense that in the last few days of the trip those working on the shiip really started not to care so much about customer service. Everything was removed from our cabin mini-bars two days in advance of the cruise being over. Workman started to repair the ship and you would find them in your room fixing things all the time. For a ship that advertises NO LITTER on the seas, they started to scrap paint off the outside railiings about 3 days into the curise and my husband and I watched (disgusted) as thousands of led based paint chips flew into the ocean. There is a lot to improve on this trip. And the Jewel itself is in need of some serious renovation. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
This is part 1 of a 5 cruises on the Jewel. We traveled all the way from Vancouver to Sydney via Alaska, Russia, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Australia and New Zealand. There was a ... Read More
This is part 1 of a 5 cruises on the Jewel. We traveled all the way from Vancouver to Sydney via Alaska, Russia, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Australia and New Zealand. There was a 2 week gap while the Jewel was in dry dock in Singapore, so there were some changes in decor. Of course, there were also crew and entertainment changes along the way. The itinerary of the cruise was okay, but not the best. We enjoyed the slow Pacific crossing, but having been on 2 previous Alaska cruises, that part wasn't a highlight. Petropavlovsk was a great stop because of the great weather and the stops in Japan were interesting and surprisingly different from each other, making it a good introduction to Japan. The crew was by far the best feature of the Jewel. We have been on many cruises with different cruise lines on different ships. The friendliness and cooperative attitude of the Jewel crew is the best we have experienced. When you are on a ship for as long as we were, there are bound to be issues that crop up. The attitude of the crew can make or break the experience. We were on-board with a number of Cruise Critic members and the ship's group services coordinator always made efforts to facilitate our gatherings and excursions. The Hotel Director (Steven) and his senior staff always made the effort to meet and welcome us. We know that the relationship is complicated as we do publicly review their cruises, but often organize excursions outside of the NCL offerings. We were never made to feel anything but welcome and supported. The cabin (inside) was well laid out and comfortable. The bathroom with a real sliding shower door was better than most. Unfortunately, the partial refurbishment in dry dock left them with a less attractive mix of decors. However, the added USB chargers and improved TV's were good. The dining was good. We mostly ate in Tsar's Palace and the Garden Cafe. Unfortunately, the food taste was not up to the excellent quality of the service in either location. Certainly, we were able to find meals that we liked, but there is just some missing richness to the flavour. There is an overabundance of Indian dishes in the Garden Cafe relative to the demographics of the passengers. Cagney's and Le Bistro are a step up in food quality, but at a premium cost. La Cuchina also demands an up-charge, but without the added quality. O'Sheehan's is convenient, but not very tasty pub grub. Sadly, our embarkation in Vancouver was a disaster due to slow processing blamed on inadequate numbers of staff. As a Vancouverite, I was embarrassed by both the slow service and the obnoxious cruise terminal staff directing traffic. Vancouver really needs to do better. There were the usual variety of enrichment activities (demonstrations, discussions and presentations), but the quality of the presentations was only average. The entertainment on NCL is always good and the Jewel was no exception. The singers and dancers in the production crew are a step up and the singers are capable dancers for the most part. The other entertainers were on a par with what you get in-between the production shows on any cruise line. There was a bounty of other musical performers in many other venues, such that there was choice and quality throughout most afternoons and evenings. There were a range of styles, so you had a choice based on location and most performers had different themes on occasion. The fitness center was replaced all the treadmills and ellipticals in dry dock, so they are all new now. For the most part, there are enough to meet the demands, but it did get busy at times. The staff/crew is/are the best thing about the cruise. Always smiling and friendly (except the security staff for reasons I don't understand), they make what could otherwise be an average experience great. The public rooms are certainly adequate for the size of the ship. Many were partially refurbished in dry dock. I think that they would have been better off completely refurbishing some of the areas rather than partially refurbishing many of the areas. It left some areas with a mismatch of the old and new decor. Both the cabin stewards and dining area staff tried to provide excellent service and were mostly successful. The flexible dining approach can leave you being passed between waiters if you arrive early, but they handle it well with good communication between the wait staff. The excursions were good, but always expensive relative to other cruise lines or independent arrangements. I think that this is because many NCL promotions provide excursion discounts, but even with the discounts they are more expensive than non-discounted fares from their competitors. Overall, we were satisfied with the value for the money, but that is because we know what we are looking for and know that our priorities are a good match for NCL. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
The itinerary was great! This was a repositioning cruise, and we thought was a great cruise for a great price. 19 nights sailing through Alaska, Russia, and ending in Japan. We stopped at 4 different stops in Alaska, one stop in Russia, ... Read More
The itinerary was great! This was a repositioning cruise, and we thought was a great cruise for a great price. 19 nights sailing through Alaska, Russia, and ending in Japan. We stopped at 4 different stops in Alaska, one stop in Russia, and 4 stops in Japan. This was everything we hoped it be. Great stops with fantastic tours. And the days at sea were just as enjoyable. The ships entertainment was top notch. We saw a show every night, and the shows were fantastic. There was a Cerque show that we saw that was as good as any major show you’d see in Vegas. The whole 19 nights seemed to just fly by. The staff was incredible, and the service was excellent. So friendly, and everyone worked so hard to make sure our journey was the best. The food was great, and all the different restaurants were fun to visit, and served delicious food. We will be doing another cruise with Norwegian very soon! Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
My wife and I chose this cruise firstly because of the itinerary. We had always wanted to visit Alaska, and with Russia and Japan as well, we booked this cruise. Except for the 6 days at sea from Alaska to Russia, we were happy with this ... Read More
My wife and I chose this cruise firstly because of the itinerary. We had always wanted to visit Alaska, and with Russia and Japan as well, we booked this cruise. Except for the 6 days at sea from Alaska to Russia, we were happy with this cruise. It was more than we expected and this was our first cruise with Norwegian, we were happy with the ship and the staff. The shows were all very good and a couple of them were excellent. The Cirque Bijou was a highlight show plus a couple of others that were really great and professional. The service at the dining rooms was very good, and the only complaint we had was with the quality of the beef in the dining rooms. We did have one dinner in the Le Bistro and that was the best meal we had eaten for a very long time. We both had the filet steak which was done to absolute perfection. Read Less
Norwegian Jewel Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 4.0 0.0
Public Rooms 4.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 0.0
Family 4.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 0.0
Enrichment 1.0 0.0
Service 3.0 0.0
Value For Money 4.0 0.0
Rates 3.0 0.0

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