624 Norwegian Jewel Cruise Reviews

I booked this cruise on a whim because it had a single rate of around $700 for a week cruise and I thought that included the beverage package. After looking into it I realised that my cabin category didn’t include the drink package so ... Read More
I booked this cruise on a whim because it had a single rate of around $700 for a week cruise and I thought that included the beverage package. After looking into it I realised that my cabin category didn’t include the drink package so upgraded to that. With the new fare, the gratuities, the 20% for the drink package and the taxes, it came to over $1,400. I would have canceled except for Norwegian’s strict cancelation policy. I thought, oh well, I’ll just go. I had not been on Norwegian since the Norway almost 20 years ago and was interested to see how it was now. The extensive dry-dock done in late 2018 made the ship much more to my liking since I have mostly cruised on Celebrity. In fact, my favourite ship of all my 22 cruises was the Millennium so since the Jewel was about the same size I thought I might like it. I arrived at the port about 12:30 pm and it looked pretty crowded. I was pleased at how fast it actually went after I got in line and I was on the ship by 1 pm! My first impression was of the Crystal Atrium. Although attractive, a 2 deck high atrium is not exactly impressive and it was mobbed with people. The cabins were ready by 1:30 and when I checked out my inside cabin, 4579, it was fine, tiny, but fine. I was disappointed that I never actually met my cabin steward though. I don’t really like only having the bed as a place to sit but since I was alone in the cabin I used one as a sofa and one as a bed. As others have pointed out, the toilet is as an awkward angle which made you sit on it sideways. The shower, with a door, was probably the nicest I have ever had though. My impressions of the ship were mostly positive and I liked the decor. I found the Garden Cafe to be extremely chaotic though and I never once ate there. I did find the Great Outdoors at the back of the ship to be delightful and never had a problem getting a table and used the small buffet out there. The public rooms were attractive but I didn’t like the layout of the ship without a circular rotation possible on most decks. I found the food to be good to excellent and enjoyed 4 nights of specialty dining, which was outstanding. I thought the entertainment was of high quality too with excellent singers and dancers. I was a tad concerned that with so many having the drink package that getting a drink might be an issue. I have to say that I never once had a problem getting a drink and found the bar staff to be excellent. I didn’t do this cruise for the ports as I have sailed this same itinerary twice before already and didn’t get off the ship. I usually like to enjoy a bit of less crowded, quieter time while everyone is off on shore excursions but I was surprised at how many people didn’t get off the ship. The muster drill was the best ever and held in Le Bistro for me. No need to wear the life jackets and we could sit down through the whole thing in air-conditioning. My main complaint, which won’t affect many people, is as a smoker, they only designate a small portion of the Pit Stop for smokers. It was always mobbed but since I vape I could sit at the railing overlooking the pool which was much nicer. The only other smoking area besides the casino was on deck 7 port side outside. It was less crowded but with almost no seating. Th cruise was a party atmosphere which was fun and I met many delightful people from all over the world. I would consider cruising with Norwegian again but will probably stick with Celebrity or Royal Caribbean in the future. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We chose this cruise based on its itinerary and it was very enjoyable. It was a first cruise for us (well, I had been on a cruise 28 years ago with a girlfriend but that was a long time ago) so we were not sure how we would enjoy this type ... Read More
We chose this cruise based on its itinerary and it was very enjoyable. It was a first cruise for us (well, I had been on a cruise 28 years ago with a girlfriend but that was a long time ago) so we were not sure how we would enjoy this type of travel. We did a lot of research and it paid off (mostly). FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO SEEMED SURPRISED BY ADDITIONAL COSTS, TENDERS AND OTHER MATTERS, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE SPEND SOME TIME ON RESEARCH! For example, by reading other reviews of cruisers, we knew that getting to Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City) and back in time would be difficult because of traffic and the timing of the ship's arrival and departure, so we took the NCL excursion. We were Haven Guests and were very grateful for the extra service (such as embarkation and disembarkation priority along with a reserved area for meals at breakfast and lunch) making our trip experience much better than many others, I am sure. What we didn't fully understand, though, was that being on deck 9 instead of 14 meant that we sometimes missed the true benefits of the Haven experience (such as having a butler and concierge ready to make things easier for us). Our butler and concierge were generally MIA unless we called and they both seem surprised that we hadn't asked to have something when we thought it would just be done (they only discovered that we were first time cruisers at the end of the trip and things might have been easier if we had volunteered that up front). There were a few other blips but we figured out what we needed to do in the first few days (and I did express my concerns to them) and we did get in tune with them after that. However, if you want to experience the full benefits of the Haven, I would recommend that you find a cabin/suite on Deck 14. Our cabin was right up front and the benefits of two balconies was wonderful, allowing us to have the best of both views and, while the noise of the anchor going up and down was clearly evident, it really didn't disturb us. Also, I am very prone to motion sickness and didn't feel the least bit queasy for the entire trip. We took mostly independent tours and they were, overall, excellent. There was one dud excursion which had more to do with the lack of English by the tour guide but we did hit all the sights. The tour into Bangkok using NCL was excellent, given that the guide was herding 32 people around but I cannot recommend the tour at the end of our trip into Singapore. We took the 4 hour tour ending at the airport and it was very expensive and certainly unimpressive. Dining was very hit and miss; Chin Chin was dreadful and La Cucina wasn't far behind. I would certainly not waste my money on La Cucina! Both service and the food was way below average. The first week seemed generally off for most of the entire dining areas - it was as if the waiters did not know what they were doing or where they should be at any one time. We were left waiting for several minutes without so much as a glass of water on a number of occasions and sometimes the food was not very warm when it arrived. A couple of very nice meals were had at Cagney's and Teppanyaki (go for the show, although the food was very good) but none of the meals made me feel that I had to go back. I admit I had expected better prepared food and the quality of the raw ingredients seemed lacking sometimes. The meal at Azura was very good and I would highly recommend going to the free sit down venues over the buffet (where a couple of times when we ventured in, we were horrified by the noise and people eating right beside the food - presumably so they could go back for more immediately. The fitness facility was good although I'm sure that it would have benefitted from some extra space. The free classes were generally well attended (or, on sea days, over attended) but the paid classes were almost empty. Internet was very poor but the guy at the Internet cafe was very helpful to get the most out of it. I must admit that I didn't pay enough attention to the small print and it was annoying that the service we had only applied to one device at a time! We had one unlimited service and two 250 minute services (that came as part of our package) so it was okay but I saved any big work on my computer for our days on shore when we could get 4G wifi service. Overall, we were very happy with our first cruise with Norwegian. They do seem to have worked out most of the problems with embarkation and disembarkation and tendering (at Koh Samui, for example, the ship was using commercial tender operations along with its own lifeboats) on this particular routing. This allowed for at least triple the numbers to get on the tender and the lineups were greatly reduced. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
I chose this cruise because of its interesting itinerary visiting several countries like Cambodia and Vietnam which we had not visited in the past. After sailing on 7 previous NCL cruises, we were well used to the freestyle crushing which ... Read More
I chose this cruise because of its interesting itinerary visiting several countries like Cambodia and Vietnam which we had not visited in the past. After sailing on 7 previous NCL cruises, we were well used to the freestyle crushing which NCL is famous for. Hence had no reservations about booking the cruise on NCL Jewel. We have always liked the smaller NCL ships like Spirit, Sun, Star and Jade. The only NCL cruise which we didn't like was on the Epic and hence have resisted in booking on bigger ships. Also itineraries on bigger ships are catered for mass markets whereas the smaller ships offer very interesting itineraries sailing to ports which are not visited by bigger ships. We flew to Singapore from London via BA and stayed for 1 night at one of the riverside hotels in Singapore. We had been to Singapore a few times before hence only stayed for 1 night however if you have never been to Singapore before, I would highly recommend staying 3 to 4 nights prior to cruise to take in most of this fabulous city. On the day of the cruise we took a local taxi to the cruise terminal for only 10 Singapore dollars and were at the port just after 11am. Check in was quick however as the cruise was visiting so many different countries, everyone's passports had to be throughly checked to ensure everyone had correct visas. I had made sure we had all the visas required (only Cambodia visa required for UK citizens) however lot of people who were checking in didn't have the correct visas so were charged a huge amount by the ship to get the visas and this was even before the cruise had begun. Thus lot of people were complaining how they were charged so much money eg. Ship charged $89 for each person for Cambodia visa however I had obtained them for £30 each by visiting Cambodian embassy in London. It is the passenger's responsibility (not the cruise line's) to ensure they have the the correct visas. So please be carefully in checking if any visas required well before travelling. In this cruise, the cruise line could arrange the visas (at a much higher cost) for all countries it was sailing to which was great for those who hadn't arranged them. However for some cruises you wouldn't be allowed to board if you didn't have the correct visa. Once checked in, we queued for the immigration which took about half an hour (much lesser than my previous cruise from Singapore which had taken well over an hour in the queue). Thereafter we boarded this beautiful ship which was just refurbished a few months ago. Everything seemed new in the public areas like furniture and carpets which was great. However I was surprised to see no embarkation photos being taken. In fact we noticed that very few photos were taken either at ports, or on open decks or in dining areas. May be this is for the best as most people don't end up buying them and hence have to be discarded. We were asked to go to garden cafe for lunch as cabins were not going to be ready till 1pm. There was plenty of choice including plenty of vegetarian options. However NCL have changed their food labelling system in the garden cafe. Before, all vegetarian food had a green symbol on label and red for non veg. However now they have green symbol for cold food and red for hot food which is silly as one can see if the food is hot or cold. When I queried that with the senior staff member at the restaurant, I was told that NCL had made that change so junior staff could interact more with customers as they would have to verbally advise someone who was vegetarian regarding what food was vegetarian or not. This was silly as most staff didn't know what food item was vegetarian or not when I queried and had to check with someone else. Also they were too busy to talk to guests. NCL need to bring in another system to identify vegetarian foods in garden cafe like 'V'symbol on the labels which is what they have in menus in all other restaurants. I was also advised by the senior staff that there was a seperate vegetarian section. However I told him that the vegetarian section only had Indian options and if I wanted to try other vegetarian cuisines I had to go to other areas of buffet which didn't have correctly marked labels. Anyway there was nothing he could do as NCL head office had made that decision. Although we used garden cafe for breakfasts and lunches only we soon became used to what foods were vegetarian or not as the menu didn't change much there. Food was good and loved their Indian veggie South Indian breakfast options. Cabins were ready after 1pm as advised. We had a port side balcony cabin on level 9 towards the aft of the ship. Great place as it was close to get to restaurants and was always quieter at the back end of the ship. The cabin was well appointed with new carpets and wall paintings. The bathroom was similar in design to Jade with seperate shower and toilet with sink in middle. Seems no changes had been made there. TV was on the smaller side compared to big screen ones on newer ships. However it had a great range of movies and news channels. It had around 4 movie channels showing drama, action, comedy and family movies. Also several news channels like BBC and several American and Australian ones but no CNN. The balcony was adequate size with 2 chairs and a table. Storage area was adequate too with plenty of drawers and shelves and hanging space too. The cabin steward, Alexandro, always kept the cabin nice and tidy with lovely towel animals every evening on the bed. He knocked the door when the luggage arrived (around 2pm). We unpacked our cases straight away and hid them away under the beds so we didn't have to see them again for the next 12 days. That is the beauty of cruising, you visit fascinating places nearly every day without packing and unpacking. After the fire drill and safety briefing at 4pm, the ship soon set sail after 5pm towards Koh Samui in Thailand. Food in the main dining rooms (Tsars palace and Azura) was great with a few vegetarian options everyday. Also I had a voice message and a letter left in cabin to say that if I wasn't happy with the vegetarian selections, I could speak to maitre'd who would arrange to get any other special requests prepared. However I didn't need to as I was happy with the choices they had on main menu. We dined mainly at Azura as it had a more intimate atmosphere but also visited Tsars palace a few times. As we had 3 day dining package in addition to the drinks package included, we visited the Italian, teppanyaki and French restaurant on 3 nights. Loved the French and teppanyaki restaurants and would be happy to go back. However not happy with the Italian one as the food choices that had were already in main dining room and garden cafe menus. Also service at Italian restaurant was not up to the mark. Never tried chin chin and O'Sheehans restaurants which were the other 2 complimentary options. However visited the O'Sheehans bar regularly as got great service from barman there. The other bars that we visited were at bliss lounge, pit stop which overlooked the pool deck and bar at the back of the ship. Didn't visit most of the bars on level 6 as we used to in the Jade. Late evenings we mainly visited the spinnakers lounge as it had the dance floor and live bands playing followed by DJ. However the bar staff were not very good and often got drinks mixed up or couldn't understand what we wanted. Anyway we enjoyed our times there most evenings. The shows in the theatre were great. Loved the 3 production shows: Rock you, velvet and Cirque De Bijou were all brilliant. Singers were great and so were all the dancers and aerialists. Also loved Mary Jess, the British singer who wowed us all with her operatic singing. Also enjoyed the local Thai dancers show, the Australian tap pack show and music shows by 2 of the singers from the production shows. In fact there wasn't a single show we didn't like which was a first as usually there always a few shows we don't end up liking. The cruise director, Dan, seemed to do a good job and also sang in the bands in spinakkers lounge. However we were shocked to see him telling off some junior staff when we docked in Hong Kong that they couldn't get off the ship until all passengers were off the ship. That is no way to talk to anyone, no matter how senior you are to them. Other than that he was always approachable and friendly. The other bands who played music around the ship were not as good as what we have experienced on other ships. There were very few activities during sea days with only 1 afternoon movie on each of the 4 sea days. We were given popcorn on 2 of those days but not the other 2. Probably ran out. NCL should certainly be screening more movies especially on sea days. Also lack of daytime activities during sea days was a disgrace. Luckily we had 3 good sunny sea days so most people were busy around the pool area. However on our last overcast and cooler sea day, there seemed to be nothing much to do around the ship. The captain of the ship could hardly ever been heard or seen. In fact we didn't hear him for first 2 days. Also he wasn't present at the finale show. An apology regarding the tendering chaos at Koh Samui (more about that later) came 2 days later. In our recent cruises, we have got used to captains who have been very visible around the ship and making announcements and jokes over the tannoy system. However this captain didn't seem to enjoy interacting with his guests. The first port of call was Koh Samui. This was the only port where ship had to tender. It was a beautiful sunny day and tendering process started early in the morning. We took an excursion to see temples and views of Koh Samui which was great. As we were on the tour, we didn't need a tender ticket to get off ship so were one of the first ones to get off. Tour finished at lunch time after which we went around the town and got back to tendering area around 2.30 or so. We were one of the lucky ones to get a tender back as soon as we got there. However thereafter it seems some people were queuing up for 3 hours or so to get a tender back. We were not sure what was happening as no announcements were made at the time. We were supposed to depart by 5pm but we didn't leave till around 9pm as passengers couldn't be brought back to the ship. Later we found out that due to change in tides, they couldn't load tender boats to full capacity. However that should have been known in advance and arrangements made to bring guests back from another tendering area. Lack of information to guests on ship was frustrating and captain only apologised regarding that 2 days later which is not good. If an incident happens, passengers need to be informed as soon as possible. We were in lam Chabong (gateway to Bangkok which is 2.5 hours away and Pattaya which is an hour away) for next 2 days. On the first day we did canals and Royal barges tour in Bangkok which was excellent with a great meal at a 5 star hotel. A lovely sunny but very humid day. Got back to ship around 6pm that day. Next day was another hot and sunny day and we did an ancient city tour near Bangkok which was very interesting too. Ship departed at 4pm that day and we were back an hour before that. The problem with this port is that it's too far away from the main cities. So one couldn't enjoy the night life offered by any of these 2 cities unless you were prepared to pay extortionate taxi costs (as no shuttles were offered at night). The ship should make arrangements for this for any overnight ports so guests can enjoy nightlife at these ports. Also, if you didn't do an excursion, the costs of day time shuttles to Bangkok were quite high. I'm sure guests wouldn't have minded paying for night time shuttles rather than for taxis. So in our opinion, this was a wasted overnight port and would have rather been in a port like Halong bay overnight to enjoy the nightlife offered there as it was easy to get into town from port area. This was our last port in Thailand. Next day, we were in Cambodia (Sihanoukville). We enjoyed this port and did a lovely excursion to temples, market and beaches on a sunny and hot day. However would have loved to visit Angkor Wat if we had an overnight stop. The main reason people visit Cambodia is to see Angkor Wat. So an overnight stop here rather than in Lam Chabong would have been better. Anyway, will have to make another trip to Cambodia too see that. After a day at sea, we entered Vietnam. Our first port was Saigon however the city was over an hour away from port. It was very hot and humid again. Very busy city with lots of motorbikes everywhere. It was a long day (over 9 hours) and we visited Buddhist pagoda, market, notre dam cathedral, presidential palace, lacquer showroom and were given 1.5 hours free time in between. No lunch was included. In fact not even a bottle of water was provided on this long day. Very difficult to cross busy roads in this city as hardly any pedestrian lights and no one pays attention to zebra crossings. Good to see this city once but would never go back there again. We had another sea day and then visited chan May in Vietnam where we did an excursion to see Da nang and marble beach. Had a good day sightseeing, visiting a museum, temple, da nang beach and a marble showroom but didn't actually see marble beach as it was a private beach for the 5 star hotels there. So not sure why the excursion had marble beach in its title. However we enjoyed the day which was once again hot and humid. The last stop in Vietnam was Ha long bay which was the highlight of this cruise. It was a misty day but luckily no rain which was forecast. We did a junk boat cruise around the islands and visited a cave which was very interesting. In the afternoon we walked to a local theme park and went on some really good roller coasters there. Surprised that the entry free to theme park including unlimited rides was only US $2 each. However when we tried to walk around the town area, we were hassled by guys on motorbikes trying to sell you stuff. So we returned back earlier. After another day at sea, we docked in Hong Kong. Debarkation was smooth on ship's part. However after a smooth immigration, the queue to get out of baggage area was long as there was not enough ground transportation for everyone as 2 ships were disembarking at same time. For Hong Kong to have such a nice new terminal and not have enough ground transportation for 2 ships, was a surprise. Hopefully it was a one off situation and doesn't happen regularly. We were out of the baggage area by 10.15 or so. We took a MTR tube to Hong Kong station which has down town facilities to check in luggage for certain flights. We got our boarding passes and then went to explore the beautiful city before returning back at night to take train to airport. All went very smoothly with no hiccups and we arrived back to London next day morning. On the whole I would highly recommend this cruise to anyone wanting to see highlights of Far East countries like Vietnam without any hardship involved. The itinerary was great but if they make minor changes in future like having overnight stop in Cambodia or Ha long bay, it would only make it better. The ship was great and I would give 4.5 stars for the cruising experience. Definitely one of our best cruises ever. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We are two 50 something sisters on our first trip to Asia. The Jewel was perfect for us with many activities on board that appealed to each of us. One sister is a Vegan and we were introduced to our pre-order contact the first night. ... Read More
We are two 50 something sisters on our first trip to Asia. The Jewel was perfect for us with many activities on board that appealed to each of us. One sister is a Vegan and we were introduced to our pre-order contact the first night. Joy was fantastic and although he had many special diet parties on board, he took the time to customize our pre-orders. The only bad dish we had was in La Cucina and it was the risotto dish from the menu - it was so salty it was inedible. We've read the other reviews and were not dissapointed in this cruise at all. The service was fine. The shore excursions we took were fine and we took advantage of the Shore-ex credit and the beverage package. With the hot weather, we did buy a lot of bottled water - which does add up cost wise. Embarkation involved several lines, but check in with NCL went quickly. The Singapore immigration line moved at a snails pace which of course is out of NCL'[s control. We had lunch in the MDR and our room was ready at about 1:00pm. One of our bags didn't show up before dinner so I went looking for it. It was in a holding room because my contact lens liquids were thought to be cans of beer - ha! Previous Cruise Critic reviews and our roll call were both a wealth of information - so we were not surprised by the charges for the Vietnam and Cambodian visas. We chose not to get them directly from the California embassies. We also knew that Ha Long Bay was no longer a tender port because a new international pier had opened several months ago. We also knew that Koh Samui was the only tender port and that 2 other 2,000 passenger ships were in that day. When NCL cancelled the shore excursion we had booked, we found a private tour and were concerned about meeting on time. Again, Cruise Critic helped us out. We went to the Meet & Greet the day before and were informed that there would be 6 lifeboat tenders. A member from the previous cruise from Sydney asked about Latitudes assistance and the officers contacted Cruise Next staff to make it happen. We met early and this is the only reason we made our private tour and were back just before the return tender problems. The tender problems in Koh Samui were very poorly handled. When we saw local tenders and ship tenders still coming back at 6:30, we knew it was bad news. What we heard from others was terrible. Standing in that heat on a pier for 3 hours is inexcusable. As others have noted in their reviews, the Captain didn't address the issue until two nights later and basically said it was up to the port, not his fault. And that at our last port we would stay an extra hour until 9:00pm. Ridiculous. On our second Thailand shore excursion, we went to Pattaya where the main attraction is the Sanctuary of Truth. It was good, but we had to endure a local guide instead of our shore ex guide. Then we were taken to a jeweler mall to shop. This should have been disclosed. It was a complete waste of time, but was air conditioned. The shore ex manager's response was that all Thailand tours go to jewelry malls just like carpet factories in Turkey. Huh, we were on a tour in Bangkok the day before and no jewelry mall. Singapore and Ha Long Bay were the highlights of the cruise. We took the ship junk cruise excursion and thought it was a great value. We also had a fantastic local guide on the boat. The junks met up at the ship instead of on the pier. We went in the afternoon, which seemed to be a bit less hectic than what we saw in the morning. Best tip for this port, is to be up early when the ship sails through the bay - magical. As others have mentioned, the production show were great. The Thai show was good as was Frenchie Davis. Karaoke was fun the first couple of nights. The other music acts in the bars were not as good as on other NCL ships, but the show band was quite good. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
This was a couples cruise to Asia covering Singapore (2 nights Pre-cruise) Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam & Hong Kong (2 nights post cruise) as part of celebrating my retirement Positives include quality of the ship (Refurbished in ... Read More
This was a couples cruise to Asia covering Singapore (2 nights Pre-cruise) Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam & Hong Kong (2 nights post cruise) as part of celebrating my retirement Positives include quality of the ship (Refurbished in 2018), quality of the food & choice of restaurants and shows performed by the ship’s cast were of a very high standard Negatives & where NCL really need to up their game are 1. Lack of organisational skills especially on-shore excursions. We booked 2 thru NCL & both times there was considerable delays in getting bus numbers allocated & getting all guests ashore. Worse was on Koh Samui where tenders were required & NCL only used 5 to transport around 2000 people over a journey that too 20 minutes each way. No surprise that we were 3 hours delayed on leaving port that night!! One other complaint about staff were those involved in teh excursions team. It is normal that they will have local knowledge & experience of the various local ports as well as fact sheets that help guests doing their ‘own thing’. NCL staff had neither & could only provide detail on the shore excursions that they offered 2. Costs - altho NCL came in around the same package cost as other cruise lines the fact they offered extras in the form of on-board credit & internet access anything that had to be paid for on the ship was way more expensive than experienced with other cruise lines. Average cost per excursion was €99 some of which we could have done ourselves at a fraction of the cost. We were also forced to purchase a Visa for Cambodia even if we were NOT going on-shore & staying on the ship. I enquired Pre-cruise & the embassy could provide this @ €35 per person it didn’t state that we would need a visa if we were not disembarking however, NCL billed us €99 per person. Considerable admin fee in my opinion 3 altho the ship’s cast provided excellent shows the acts brought on-board were less than impressive. In fact out of the 5 acts only one, Mary Jess, provided the standard of performance experienced on other ship’s 4. The locations visited were part of the reason we booked the cruise however, was surprised that the ship docked in what can only be described as container yards or working shipyards with the majority miles from the locations that we wanted to visit. For example, in Da Nang it was a 30 minute shuttle bus transfer (@$15pp) to the town/beach & that was the best/closest. Worse was Bangkok (2.5hr drive) & Hanoi (3hr drive) Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
The ship was just recently renovated and everything was beautiful and clean. The cabin was adequate in size (we had an inside). Dining at the buffet was outstanding. Dining in the restaurants was sometimes not good. Chicken was dry and ... Read More
The ship was just recently renovated and everything was beautiful and clean. The cabin was adequate in size (we had an inside). Dining at the buffet was outstanding. Dining in the restaurants was sometimes not good. Chicken was dry and fish overcooked. The desserts were superb.. The entertainment was varied and good, however the daytime activities such as the lectures were boring and badly presented. The speaker had most of us dozing. The best part was the itinerary. The itinerary was exactly what we wanted. Starting in Sydney provided us with an opportunity to visit this lovely city. Koalas, wallabys, kangaroo, Komodo dragons were all on our list and we saw plenty of them. Hunter Valley was a little disappointing as we did not actually visit the vineyard itself. The wines we also not to our liking. However the cheeses were great! We were also disappointed in the Kuranda ship excursion as we had to pay extra for the butterfly sanctuary as well as the koala sanctuary. Then it rained and the skyrail which was the whole reason for being there was closed. Our snorkeling experience in the Great Barrier Reef and in the Whitsundays and also at Pink Beach near Komodo was wonderful. We organized our own excursions as the ones on the ship were too expensive. Indonesia-Komodo, Bali, & Semarang were exceptional. Lush foliage, monkey forest, batik, gold, silver, temples & lewak coffee filed all of our senses.Our final destination was Singapore. What a city! This was indeed a fabulous itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
Norwegian jewel ,January 5/1/19 very enjoyable for first time traveling on norweigan line ,except for our cabin "HORRIBLE " We visited Noumea,isle of pine ,lifou,cairns ,Airlie beach ,and Brisbane ,my favorite would have to be ... Read More
Norwegian jewel ,January 5/1/19 very enjoyable for first time traveling on norweigan line ,except for our cabin "HORRIBLE " We visited Noumea,isle of pine ,lifou,cairns ,Airlie beach ,and Brisbane ,my favorite would have to be isle of pines ,such a pretty place and snorkeling was fantastic.Most staff were great no problems at all ,except for customer service most were not that approachable the rest were pretty friendly .Food in all area i found nothing to fault and had a good variety ,entertainment shows were fantastic lots of different shows to see.. couple of entertainers were a little boring ,others were good ,facility clean and tidy ,most excursions were as usual expensive and found similar tours much cheaper offboard We had a free drink package ,this made for a pleasant trip as expenses were cut massively what a big saving , we still had to pay for water and coffee as these weren't included, water was around $74 AU for 12x 1Lt water .my experience with our room was the most disappointed part of our trip very sleep deprived ,otherwise we loved it. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
I chose this cruise because of the private watercolor class which was offered to me on full cruising days through Art in the Mountains. Because of that class, I was busy on all of the cruising days. We came early to Sydney and stayed a ... Read More
I chose this cruise because of the private watercolor class which was offered to me on full cruising days through Art in the Mountains. Because of that class, I was busy on all of the cruising days. We came early to Sydney and stayed a couple more days after leaving the ship. This were great days of exploring the city and learning about Australia's history. I felt like the excursions were expensive for what we got. And that the descriptions of the excursions were not always accurate or maybe a little misleading. This was disappointing. Additionally, the descriptions of next day locations did not always appear accurate, ie. distances to a specific site which needed a car, when people could walk without difficulty; car needed when public buses were available; cycling along path, when actually frequently along traffic. Big problem between what we found on line and what excursion staff told us, who did clearly not have any personal experience or knowledge of the excursion. Quite frustrating. We also did not get any of our boarding paper work before leaving home. It was a mess!!! Were it not for a well versed hotel desk clerk, we would have not had any of the things we needed including suitcase tags, etc. Your communication was not good. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Newly refurbished NCL Jewel is a great ship, aside from the cabin's bathroom, the whole ship feels really new and fresh, doesn't seem like a 13 year old ship at all. Service and dining was nothing impressive, but it wasn't ... Read More
Newly refurbished NCL Jewel is a great ship, aside from the cabin's bathroom, the whole ship feels really new and fresh, doesn't seem like a 13 year old ship at all. Service and dining was nothing impressive, but it wasn't too bad. Entertainment was some of the best I have ever seen! Embarkation was pretty average, nothing like the smooth and amazing experience I had on RCI but it was okay. Lines were long but without assigned boarding times, that's what you should be expecting. It was annoying they didn't have a hole punched in the cruise card and we had to go to guest service to get it punched. All the public spaces look pretty much new, no complain there at all. The decor was very much to my liking, the Jewel is a beautiful ship. Some passageways is a touch too narrow for my liking especially after evening shows, but it wasn't terrible. There is enough seating everywhere around the ship so that's excellent. Dining was so so at the start but improved over the cruise, maybe I got better luck later on and made better choices? Had a few really really good dishes that I actually ordered another plate of it. The buffet doesn't have a ton of differences throughout the whole cruise. All the food is very american, depending on your taste that might or might not be a bad thing. Entertainment, shows and activities were all great. Sadly none of the poolside activities ended up happening because of the weather, but the other activities were excellent. The evening production shows were amount the best I have seen. Very impressive with them, but the non-production show like the "magic" show and music show were underwhelming, I recommend skipping them. Service were fine. Didn't feel like anyone tried very hard but they all did their job reasonably well. Overall it was a nice cruise, wasn't blown away, but it was nice enough for me to consider NCL again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
I really loved this cruise ship had never been away with Norweigan before and after reading the reviews was a little worried. We chose an interior cabin as we got it at an awesome price. We only use cabin for sleeping anyway. The cabins ... Read More
I really loved this cruise ship had never been away with Norweigan before and after reading the reviews was a little worried. We chose an interior cabin as we got it at an awesome price. We only use cabin for sleeping anyway. The cabins were comfortable and very clean couldn't complain. The food in the dining room was just great. The buffet ok but you would be really whining if you couldn't find something to eat. Everything was fresh. I really loved the vibe of this ship well laid out with many nooks and crannies to explore. Staff are overworked ATM due to an outbreak of the norovirus on previous cruise. Everyone had to be served which was great as virus was elimated. Only complaint if any is that we only stayed in Hobart for five hours instead of the whole day all in all great cruise. Don't listen to all the negative people. Read Less
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
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
Sail Date December 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
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 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
Sail Date November 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
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
Sail Date October 2018
Excellent deal! Only drawback was the embarkation process - we ended up standing in line for about 1 hour in order to check in and get our sea card, even though we were there at our assigned time. Shore excursions were very good and on ... Read More
Excellent deal! Only drawback was the embarkation process - we ended up standing in line for about 1 hour in order to check in and get our sea card, even though we were there at our assigned time. Shore excursions were very good and on time. Even the port where we were tendered were handled well and in a timely manner. We also found out that we could opt out of the automatic $14.50/person gratuity entry to our on board account, and instead pay them directly to those we had dealings with. We had hoped to take advantage of the beverage package as one of our “perks”. However when we were told that we had to pay the gratuities on the retail price of the package up front (it would have been $400+/person) we opted out. Other cruise lines we have had this perk with have you paying gratuities each time you use it, which really seems more fair to me, especially as we are not heavy drinkers. We wouldn’t even drink enough to cover the amount of the gratuities paid. 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
Sail Date September 2018
Chose the cruise for it's Itinerary- chose daring excursions, helicoptor ride over the glacier, glacial climbing, canoeing, off roading on the logging trails. Alaska landscape does not disapoint- enamored by Alaska's beauty !! ... Read More
Chose the cruise for it's Itinerary- chose daring excursions, helicoptor ride over the glacier, glacial climbing, canoeing, off roading on the logging trails. Alaska landscape does not disapoint- enamored by Alaska's beauty !! Had been to Alaska before, but this trip took the cake. Russia's Petropavlovsk was a small town people very friendly there surprised that there was lack of souvenirs. Japan was eye opening - took an excursion to Towana Lake & Gorge, what a way to see the beautiful greenery & streams - just stunning ! The tour included an authentic Japanese lunch which was so delicious. Never can get food like that back in the states. Entertainment: the boat had a good selection of entertainment Hypnotist Richard Barker was the best ! Barker put on a great show - went to both show times loved it that much. Barker then put on a late evening only adults show - and another slam dunk, just fun & fascinating. Hypnotist Richard Barker was a standout! He also did a seminar on Weight Loss which was very interesting and well attended. Other Entermaint standouts: The Russian Acrobatic Duo - just a wonderful pair wowing the audience, there was also an excellent Circ de Soliel thouroughly entertaining excellent quality and wow factor, too. There was even a group that did all Bee Gees songs and everyone stood for all the Saturday Night Fever tunes - loads of fun Restaurant Standout: Cagney's Steakhouse a premium restaurant if you take the dining package - did this one 2 times. Non Standouts: Basic food on the boat, disappointed with Garden Cafe, and even the grand dining rooms, seems if I order chicken it's anything but the breast meat, soups are cold, food lacks seasoning, service varied in terms of how long one had to wait for what they ordered, staff seem overworked since it appeared most seating were not staffed enough and therefore not all experiences were quality of any sort. Gettting a seat is another issue - most times ate outside on the deck - sometimes had to wear a jacket due to cold & wind, too :-) Read Less
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
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
As newly retired folks we were able to jump on the Norwegian Jewel at the last minute for a cruise from Seward, Alaska to Vancouver, BC. Alaska was a "bucket list" destination for us and did not disappoint. We have previously ... Read More
As newly retired folks we were able to jump on the Norwegian Jewel at the last minute for a cruise from Seward, Alaska to Vancouver, BC. Alaska was a "bucket list" destination for us and did not disappoint. We have previously cruised with Royal Caribbean and had concluded that we were just not cruise people due to the constant pounding music, intrusive sales tactics, and crowds. Our NCL cruise to Alaska totally changed our minds. The ship never felt crowded. The dress code was quite casual due to the destination, think puffy coats and warm hats. We started the cruise with a quick view of the Northern Lights in Anchorage on our way to the train station at 4:30am (yes, take the train instead of the bus, well worth it!). You are given assigned times for boarding and the process went smoothly. We only had carry on luggage so were able to check in, unpack, and start enjoying the cruise immediately. And what does that mean? Food of course. We ate exclusively in the complimentary dining rooms and didn't feel like we lacked anything. The main buffet, the Garden Cafe, has something for everybody. There were options for fresh cooked turkey and veggie burgers or fresh fish daily. One of the hot lines was primarily vegetarian and included an array of different Indian cuisine which we tended to eat most of the time since it was so good. Fear not though, also plenty of fried chicken, prime rib, and the usual buffet food. Overall the food was fresh, constantly replenished, and delicious. As a lifetime Weight Watchers member I was able to make healthy choices without feeling denied and did not gain the 7 pounds that our cruise director said is the average. The food choices in all of the dining venues were adequate and the servers were happy to make substitutions (more veggies please). The ship includes a library with a no talking sign, nice for quiet time looking out the window from a comfy chair. Also a card room, spa, duty free shop, photo studio, casino, and gym. Onboard activities includes bingo, trivia, cooking demonstrations, "about the ship" talks with the crew, dancing, music, etc. The nightly entertainment included musical productions, comedy, and a magic show. All were well attended and fun so get there early. Did I mention we had perfect weather? No rain at all so we were able to get really close to the glaciers. Spectacular. We planned no shore excursions since we were uncertain about the weather but ended up following a similar plan in every port:find the local brewery or at least a good local beer, talk to the natives and find out what they think is special, and go do it. We started at Seward Brewery with lunch and a pint, and a lovely waterfront walk of about 1.5 miles on the Iditarod Trail back to the ship. Our first stop was Icy Strait Point in Hoonah. This stop was low on my list pre-cruise but turned out to be a high point. The destination is Alaska native owned and includes beautiful nature trails, a museum in an old cannery, a bit of shopping, restaurants, zip lining, wildlife and bear searching. It was stunningly beautiful, the people were friendly, and the food was good. We hiked, found good beer (Skagway brewing Spruce Tip Ale) and enjoyed a smoked salmon pizza at the Duck Point Smokehouse. When we go back we will plan ahead and rent kayaks for a paddle around the inlet, weather permitting. We had a short stop in Juneau so took a bus tour, saw Mendenhall Glacier, found the local brewery (Devil's Club Brewery). Next time: more time at the Glacier visitors center. Next top was Skagway. We headed to the National Park Service center and took a guided tour of Skagway with Kellie. Very interesting and informative talk about the women of Skagway during the Gold Rush. Did you know that women hiked to the Klondike with 35 pounds of wet clothes on their bodies including hats, gloves, full corsetry, and ridulous shoes? We walked to the Klondike cemetary north of town and then hiked up to Reid Falls. Great day, beautiful place and of course more Spruce Tip Ale and the brewery. Last stop was Ketchikan. Meh. A working town, a bit touristy. The walk along Cross Creek to the fish hatchery is pleasant though. Overall a great trip. We couldn't have asked for better weather or a better shipboard experience. It gave us a taste of Alaska and some ideas about where we will return to. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
I loved the Alaskan Inside Passage cruise south. there was so many things to see on sea days and also in each port. The excursions seemingly were more expensive than I would have thought but I am a first time cruiser. The rooms were ... Read More
I loved the Alaskan Inside Passage cruise south. there was so many things to see on sea days and also in each port. The excursions seemingly were more expensive than I would have thought but I am a first time cruiser. The rooms were older but the staff was very kind. We had an inside cabin for 3 but it seemed like enough space for us but we live in travel trailers during the summer. I really liked the open meal times and the freedom to pick from different restaurants each day. It was nice not having to dress up each night for dinner especially because some of our return to ship times were late. Our room unfortunately had the smell of cigarette smoke each night around the same time and by the time the staff came to check in the room there was a sweet perfumey smell, no one in our room brought perfume on the trip. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
To see the glaciers and Alaska it was more than I expected The shows were all great except the magician was so bad he should be doing children's birthdays no cruise shows The cabin had no room to move around and was really ... Read More
To see the glaciers and Alaska it was more than I expected The shows were all great except the magician was so bad he should be doing children's birthdays no cruise shows The cabin had no room to move around and was really dusty The menu in sit down dining could improve to increase choices and variety The hotel in Anchorage was a bad experience my room was not available and they booked us in a hotel next to the airport. It was so dirty.carpet teared tile cracked, mold in Bathroom, it was a half star dump not the 4 star hotel I booked.to be downtown not by the airport The second day they called and informed me that my room was ready and we had to wait one hour for the van to pick us up. The crew on board was ferry friendly and helpful with there information, including all it was a great cruise Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
Norwegian Jewel Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 4.1
Dining 4.0 3.8
Entertainment 4.0 4.1
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family 4.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.8
Enrichment 1.0 3.4
Service 3.0 4.1
Value For Money 4.0 3.8
Rates 3.0 4.1

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