3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
We are experienced cruisers - 14th cruise, 10th on NCL, 3rd on the Jewel. My wife and I primarily sail to explore great ports in far off lands, and this sailing met that goal! Embarkation was remarkably smooth in Sydney - I had to ask one ... Read More
We are experienced cruisers - 14th cruise, 10th on NCL, 3rd on the Jewel. My wife and I primarily sail to explore great ports in far off lands, and this sailing met that goal! Embarkation was remarkably smooth in Sydney - I had to ask one of the officers how many people were on the ship (we had more than 2300 passengers) since you wouldn't think it was a fully booked cruise based on the lack of delays getting on the ship. We were disappointed that the original itinerary was changed and the ship did not stop in Tasmania, but the addition of Milford, Doubtful and Dusky Sound cruises was a great addition. Having cruised to Alaska multiple times, the geography of the Fiords was very similar. The New Zealand ports offered a great sampling of this amazing country - urban metropolitan areas of Wellington and Auckland, quaint small coastal town of Akaroa, and natural wonders on tours in Dunedin, Tauranga, and Napier. Our blog: rayandtraci.blogspot.com has pictures and port highlights. It is hard to compare sailings in different parts of the world - this tour of Oceania certainly compared favorably with some of our favorites - Baltics and Eastern Mediterranean! As this was our third sailing on the Jewel (and 8th on NCL's Jewel Class ships) we were quite familiar with all of the attractions and entertainment on board. For the most part, I have found you get what you pay for as far as room size and amenities and NCL is no exception. I have always felt NCL leads the way as far as entertainment quality - they had a different headliner show every day for the 14 day cruise. Highlights include the Luminescence show by Hajime and Maud and the Cirque Bijou shows which offered a Cirque du Solei experience on the seas. The Jewel has a Burn the Floor show and a talented production cast that put on their long running Band on the Run show. A wide range of musicians entertained at the many bars - I especially enjoyed 24 Karat - Canadian performers Sheri and Dan who put on many performances. I also add that the Jewel showed NFL games in each cabin - the national Sunday night and Monday night games (which are Monday/Tuesday afternoons in New Zealand) as well as two of the regular Sunday afternoon games. Having sailed on NCL many times, my wife and I are pretty good at knowing which dishes we would like and which ones to avoid. We choose pay restaurants when the main dining offerings look weak - I love the Rib Eye Steak at Cagney's and my wife enjoys their Sea Bass. Over many years, it does appear NCL has improved their dessert offerings which were once pretty poor. Their pizza also seems to have improved. The Jewel has a great crew. Their Hotel Director Steven, was very visible whether it was greeting guests after shore excursions or even bussing! tables at the buffet. The cruise director David was very entertaining and worked hard to insure guests had the opportunity for a wonderful vacation. Servers, housekeeping staff, bartenders and other crew just seemed to care that their guests had a good time. We had a great time on the Jewel and highly recommend it to others who want to experience New Zealand! Read Less
Sail Date: November 2017
This was our first time with Norwegian and we loved it. It was lovely being able to eat at whatever time suited us and not having to dress up if we didn't feel like it. It made it a very relaxing trip. The cabin was small but well ... Read More
This was our first time with Norwegian and we loved it. It was lovely being able to eat at whatever time suited us and not having to dress up if we didn't feel like it. It made it a very relaxing trip. The cabin was small but well equipped with most things we needed. Tea and coffee in the cabin would have been a bonus. There was plenty of storage space and everything worked as it should. Our Steward Lincoln, was the best. If I needed anything I only had to open the door and he was right there. It was like he never left the corridor. There is no self service Laundry but you got laundry bags you could fill with as much as you could fit in and they were $19.99. It came back nicely folded 24 to 48 hours later. We used it twice, no complaints. Food was good in the Main Dining Rooms but we didn't really use the buffet much. On the odd occasion that we did venture in there, it seemed pretty chaotic with lots of people walking around searching for a seat. We mostly ate at the Tzar's Palace for both breakfast and dinner and only had one meal in 2 weeks that I did not really enjoy. We also ate in Azura a couple of times and that was Ok. Same menu as Tzars Palace. O'Sheehans was good too but we only ate there twice. The Menu in the Chinese was quite limited but it was OK. We did not eat in any of the speciality restaurants as we were happy with the food in the Inclusive restaurants. The all inclusive drinks package was excellent. The drinks were all Branded drinks, with an excellent choice of beers such as Corona, Blue Moon, Becks and many more. I did read that someone thought the cocktails were watered down but I didn't think so. I actually had to ask them to not make them so strong as there was so much alcohol in them, and the one Gin and Tonic I ordered had more Gin than tonic and I had to pour some out and ask for more tonic. Now on to what made the cruise so special for us. The entertainment! A couple of the Theatre shows were good, but are not really our thing. The best part for us was Bernie the Guitarist who played most nights in Magnums Champagne Bar and the duo 24 Karat who also played most evenings either in the Spinnaker or Fizz Lounge. These 2 Acts made the cruise for us. The service in general aboard the ship was very good. Very attentive waiters around the pool and in the restaurants. Tables always cleared away quickly and never had to wait long to be served. On a couple of occasions I left the cabin around 5 am in search of a cup of tea and staff were working hard cleaning and polishing the stair cases and elevators. We did not book any of the ships excursions but just got off and looked to see what was on offer locally. Never had a problem finding anything to do. All in all it was one of the best trips we have ever had and can't wait for our next Norwegian Cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2017
This was a 14 day cruise with a great itinerary - lots of ports to visit in New Zealand. Seamless embarkation with no wait at all and disembarkation was equally quick and easy. The ship's entertainment crew member, Gabby, was ... Read More
This was a 14 day cruise with a great itinerary - lots of ports to visit in New Zealand. Seamless embarkation with no wait at all and disembarkation was equally quick and easy. The ship's entertainment crew member, Gabby, was responsible for the solo singles get-togethers, amongst her many other duties, and she was absolute fantastic. All our group concurred. She made a huge difference to our enjoyment level. The service by other staff members was also of a high standard. Reception staff, I.T internet cafe, the dinning staff, the excursion crew and the other entertainment staff genuinely surpassed service I have encountered on other cruise lines. It is surprising what a huge difference service can make! The ship is older than most other cruise ships but it was very clean and the dated lounges etc. didn't make a big difference to the overall enjoyment. I believe it will be going in for a retrofit in the next year or so. Evening entertainment was superb as were the shore excursions. Lots to choose from and their "Free at Sea" make the excursions more affordable. The excursion crew were somewhat disorganized and this often resulted in groups leaving the ship late for excursions. One was as late as 45 minutes - due to on board staff (not on-shore contractors) The only average or slightly below average was the food. It was institutional, boring and not as good as other N.C.L. ships. Unless one ate in the fine dining (surcharge) restaurant, in which case the food was better quality with more variety. Overall, this was the best cruise I have been on. Thank you N.C.L. !! Read Less
Sail Date: November 2017
Going to Australia and New Zealand was always on our wish list. The NCL Jewel itinerary made it easy to see several cities in one trip. We booked a balcony cabin on level 10. Pre-cruise and post cruise we spent 2 days each at the Sydney ... Read More
Going to Australia and New Zealand was always on our wish list. The NCL Jewel itinerary made it easy to see several cities in one trip. We booked a balcony cabin on level 10. Pre-cruise and post cruise we spent 2 days each at the Sydney Hilton. This hotel is centrally located in the Sydney CBD and is easy access to sights such as the Opera House, Harbor Bridge and Dahling Harbor. Also, great shopping and restaurant venues are nearby. We normally book few excursions, preferring to explore the ports on our own. We did this at all the ports on this trip too, except for Tauranga and Wellington where we booked Lord of the Rings (LOR) tours through the Costco shore excursion company. (BTW we highly suggest using Costco to do all your bookings because you get the best price, gift card rebates and more-for-your-money shore excursions.) The Wellington tour tuned out to be a private tour for just the 2 of us, since the other couple cancelled. We not only saw most of the LOR film sights we had a private tour of most of Wellington's most picturesque locations. The Tauranga tour went to the thermal hot springs and Hobbiton. The cost of this tour was well below what the ship was offering. The NCL Jewel ship itself was good, considering it is not one of NCL's newest or biggest class of ships. With NCL, most things are "a la carte" and you can pay more to get more in amenities, if you want. The specialty restaurants really aim to please and were always top notch in term of service and food. The main dining rooms food was very good, but it was hard to get a steak cooked as rare as we wanted it. The buffets food was fair and best if you used the cooking stations to get hot and individualized food you want. Most of the shows used the same dance group for any of the nights main entertainment. Burn the Floor sometimes used other names for some of their shows to try to give you a sense that it is a whole other production. For most of the shows, this worked out well to hep you suspend disbelief. The one show we saw that failed to hit the mark was the Buddy Holly Tribute. This performer was the least convincing Holly ever and was very limited in his singing and dance repertoire. Generally bar and room service was very good. The drinks were usually generous with the alcohol which kind of made up for their slow rounds. One little annoyance my husband found was when he took a cigar break in the Humidor, a few of the same passengers were there each night and basically took over the room and hurdled insults and made jokes about other passengers. This unfortunately took some of the pleasure out of a good cigar. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2017
This was our 4 Norwegian cruise and loved it the food was amazing and the entertainment was outstanding especially burn the floor. The service in all areas was great and the staff were very friendly and made you feel quite welcome. ... Read More
This was our 4 Norwegian cruise and loved it the food was amazing and the entertainment was outstanding especially burn the floor. The service in all areas was great and the staff were very friendly and made you feel quite welcome. We love the freestyle dining eating when we want and don’t need to dress fancy, also the many choices of free places and restaurants to eat at. We cabin steward Jesse was great always spoke to us in the corridor and our cabin was always neat and tidy each day. Embarkation and disembarkation was quick and easy with no issues. There were plenty of activities each day happening all around the ship that suited all age groups, we played elevator roulette with hecta from cruise director team which was really funny, all the evening shows at 8:15pm in spinnaker lounge were hilarious. The bathrooms in oceanview staterooms on deck 5 were quite small with no much room to move about. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2017
I must have been on a different ship than the other reviewers because I encountered none of their problems. Embarcation: Being a Latitudes member{this was my 26th cruise} I only waited 3 to 5 minutes in Latitudes line before registering ... Read More
I must have been on a different ship than the other reviewers because I encountered none of their problems. Embarcation: Being a Latitudes member{this was my 26th cruise} I only waited 3 to 5 minutes in Latitudes line before registering and joining a small group of people escorted aboard. Having cruised approximately 70 times this embarcation was better than most. Cabin: We had a balcony mid ship, and although small{most newer ships are} it was well appointed and cabin steward attentive and helpful The ship as a whole was tired{due for a rehab early next year} but was very clean and we found the staff to be extremely friendly and helpful. Food: Specialty restaurants are excellent and always have been. Main dining rooms are mediocre at best, but complimentary chinese and O"Sheehans 24 hrs. were very good for sandwiches,dips and hot wings. All restaurants had great desserts and ice cream. If something was not to your liking, it was removed and replaced at once. One only has to ask. Their bakery goods are delicious. Entertainment:Better than most cruise lines and alot to choose from. All in all, we were there to have a good time and we did. Captain and hotel director made themselves available as did other staff members. Looking forward to another NCL cruise. Gale, Dallas, Tx. P.S. They gave a great Cruise Critic meet and greet for about 60 of us. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
The ship was beautiful as was our stateroom. The two main dining rooms were palatial and the main theatre was very impressive. Everything else though was disappointing especially when compared to our wonderful experiences on Princess ... Read More
The ship was beautiful as was our stateroom. The two main dining rooms were palatial and the main theatre was very impressive. Everything else though was disappointing especially when compared to our wonderful experiences on Princess cruises. There weren't enough staff at the restaurants and bars and the service was terrible. Many of the staff looked disinterested. Security (or lack thereof) was appalling. I was checked only once when I embarked in Sydney. At one port in New Zealand I was first of the bus after a shore excursion and was greeted by nobody at security. I simply walked through unchallenged and unchecked. Try taking wine on board though and the security come from everywhere to charge a corkage fee. The price for our cruise was very cheap but sadly so was the overall service. We will be happy to pay more for our future cruises with Princess because we have never had a bad experience with them and they just seem to be able to make the whole experience so enjoyable. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
We have always dreamed of going to Australia and New Zealand...this was a trip of a life time. We like cruising on the smaller NCL ships and the Jewel fit the bill. I booked originally a 2 bedroom family suite a year before the cruise ... Read More
We have always dreamed of going to Australia and New Zealand...this was a trip of a life time. We like cruising on the smaller NCL ships and the Jewel fit the bill. I booked originally a 2 bedroom family suite a year before the cruise and watched the prices and amenities for changes. About 4 months before sailing the price dropped and amenities added a $300 ship board credit, so I called and rebooked. Then a month before sailing the Haven 2 bedroom dropped in price to less than I paid for my cabin on deck 11 so I called again and requested a credit... they upgraded me to the Haven cabin 14008, without rebooking me, and gave mea fee more perks for not refunding the $600 difference. It was worth it! I traveled with my husband and married daughter and her husband. The suite worked fine but I wouldn’t put more than 4 adults in the suite. Storage was the biggest issue...I have been on other ships with better storage than this one. The 2nd bedroom is very tiny...heck the bathroom to that bedroom is almost the same size.... the bed need 2 egg crate cushions on it to make it sleepable. The master bedroom was nice...storage not so handy any space between the bed and the wall..ugh! The phone in by the toilet was a pain..we were always hitting it off the hook... dumb spot for a phone. I loved the shower and being able to look at the ocean while showering. Another nice thing were the built in USB port in the light fixtures by the master bed. They were vert handy. The Haven area was never busy and good place to relax... Down fall.. hot tub was kept at 99 degrees and the small pool was so cold only my husband went into it after coming out of the steam room (which worked on rare occasions). They did keep coffee tea juice and water as well as some light snacks available in the Haven til about 4PM... wish they would have kept the water around longer! Food on ship started out good and then went down hill. You had to watch where you ate... food temperature was mediocre in most venues. We ate a lot in O Sheehan’s, Cagneys and Le Bistro as the food was always hot and great in those places. Because we were in the Haven we we got to eat breakfast in Moderno and lunch too if we were on ship...problem was you got tired of the same food over and over. We only went to 2 shows... we are not night owls and many times you just didn’t get out of meals in a timely fashion to make the shows. The 2 we saw were excellent. We booked our own tours in port... most thru the group we met on cruise critics. NCL’s tours were very expensive. We only had an issue in one port and that was Auckland. The guide we had arrived with an attitude and a vehicle not large enough for our group so we cancelled...I understand from those that did go that we made the right choice.. he dumped them off and told them too find the waterfalls themselves... so much for a guided tour! Melbourne we went to Federation Park and saw Cook’s cottage. Burnie... some did a personalized wildlife tour and some went to Cradle mountain. Wish we we would have had a longer day in Burnie.. so welcoming, beautiful place and people. Wellington part of our group went to Te Papa museum and up the cable car.. the others did a pub crawl. Napier we went to the National Aquarium..it was wonderful and then wonder around the town. Tarunga we went to the Maori cultural center and Hobbiton...private tour and well worth it. Auckland was the failed tour so we walked around the port area...the kids met friends and went over to Davenport. Our last stop was Bay of Islands...we arranged a private kayak trip to a waterfall our guide, Ben, was the best... the day started with rain and ended with sunshine and laughter. Crossing the Tasmam Sea was smooth...we saw penguins,whales, and dolphins from our balcony. If it wasn’t for the long airplane ride I would do this trip again in a heartbeat. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
As a person who has done 15 previous cruises with celebrity, rci., princess and thompson cruise lines i consider myself more than experienced to give a good and honest account of any cruise i’ve been on so here is my opinion of my ... Read More
As a person who has done 15 previous cruises with celebrity, rci., princess and thompson cruise lines i consider myself more than experienced to give a good and honest account of any cruise i’ve been on so here is my opinion of my ncl. Cruise from sydney to new zealand via melbourne and tasmania. Embarcation in sydney. Congratulations to n.c.l. On what has to be the worst embarcation myself and most of all the other 2500 plus guests have ever had to endure. Embarcation was after 12.00 midday. We arrived at 12-20. Bag drop was smooth and done within 10 minutes. We then had to queue 20 minutes to get into the terminal. This then allowed us to join another 20 minute queue to be allowed in small groups to get on an esculator or lift to go up to the next level and at this point we’re told to discard any water or liquids pre security. On reaching the next level we then had to queue for an hour and 15 minutes to check in as there were only 30 desks for hundreds of people and the system kept gridlocking and at one point stopped completely for twenty minutes. We were the directed to yet another long queue to pass though australian border control only to then be directed to another queue to pass through x-ray and security before boarding ship. Finally after two and a half hours!!!!! At no point we’re we offered even a drink of water in what was a packed and very hot area and no appologies either !!! Not the best start. The cruise. We had paid for the ultimate drinks package and the drinks at first we’re fine with a good selection of as advertised. Bar service is however at best slow and at worst totally unacceptable compared to other companies as there’s hardly ever more than two people serving at any time which creates either long queues or arguments as to who’s next for service. Three days in and the major issues began to appear. No more bulmers cider left. Next day no reason brown ale. Next day no more peroni. Next day no more budweiser not a good thing on a ship filled with a lot of americans. We asked will we restock in new zealand? No sir that’s it for the cruise now! Any refunds no sir. Next day no mint left to make mojitos and no grapes left in the garden restaurant to have with wine and cheese and on and on it went. Food. Only average and although a good selection it was mostly the same selection every day. If your definition of fine dining is steak and chips with a sprig of broccoli in the main restaurants then this is for you. That says pretty much all you need to know. the chefs need to understand that putting far too much salt in all the food they produce is not the way forward. I’ve never tasted so much salty graveyard and sauces anywhere i’ve been. Yak! All specialised restaurants are very expensive and add an %18 gratuity to your bill and even ask for a tip on tip if your feeling genorous. Excursions. One example of the daylight robbery this ship operates it’s excursions on. To visit hot springs etc. In rotorua ship price $279 pier private tour operator 150 new zealand dollars. Hey go figure and do the maths. Every trip they offer is way more than double the local prices. Captain / cruise director. Congratulations on been voted the worst and least in formative of anyone i’ve ever sailed with. Never on time either early or late. No notice or announcement of departure just a honk of the horn and off we go. Gratuities. $14 per person per day. Compulsory unless you ask at the reception to pay them at your own discretion. The staff. Some are really hard working and give great service however i have to say in general it was the most miserable crew i’ve ever sailed with and some of them were just downright rude. Entertainment. Absolutely fantastic and the thestre shows and dance team were the best i’ve seen. The other entertainment in the bars and around the ship and on main deck area through the day was only average and in some cases abysmal to the point of bad karaoke level. All in all the ship is kept very clean and tidy although now a bit tired. Would i go on this ship again or recommend it? No. Best regards. Daved. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
Firstly I start by saying I've been on 27 cruises and there are good and bad points on every cruise. I’ve cruised with P&O, Princess, Celebrity, Royal Caribbean and Carnival Australia. This is my opinion only, everyone has ... Read More
Firstly I start by saying I've been on 27 cruises and there are good and bad points on every cruise. I’ve cruised with P&O, Princess, Celebrity, Royal Caribbean and Carnival Australia. This is my opinion only, everyone has differing tastes. An experience for a first time cruiser will generally be different to that of an experienced cruiser. I chose this cruise as I wanted to try NCL. The people on board this cruise consisted of only 230 Aussies (surprising for a cruise out of Australia), 430 Germans, UK, Canadians and USA, Asians. There were very few children on board. Embarkation: Terrible, probably the worst I’ve experienced. We were queued and standing for several hours. I really felt for the elderly passengers. The hold-up/bottleneck appeared to be in the Customs area (there were only 4 officials processing when I went through). Cabin The Good: good size bathroom and shower. The shower had a sliding door not a curtain; however you needed to sit sideways on the toilet. They have little swimming fish printed on the carpet in the hallways showing the direction to the bow. My room was located above the theatre but I wasn’t interrupted by noise. The Bad: very small, poorly designed room, very tight to get round the bed and I kept hitting my head on the bunk bed (which was raised) and the light fittings in the bed head. No room steward name in the room and when I introduced myself on the second day of the cruise she never gave me her name and never greeted me by name, also general poor attention to detail in room. Very few TV channels other than cruise line advertising. There were too many loud entertainment announcements outside the cabin and in public areas (disruptive), cabin walls are very thin and you can easily hear neighbours, mattresses need replacing - they’re old and lumpy. Entertainment The Good: Entertainment was better than average, Burn the floor was excellent, as was Cirque Bijou, the physical comedian and the acrobats were great. Good Australian cruise director: David Food The Good: good variety in main dining room menu and service in the main dining rooms was excellent. Flexible dining and dress options are good however as I was traveling solo if I wished to share a table for dinner it was usually a table for 4 so I ended up sitting next to a couple, good glassware in main restaurants The Bad: average, lukewarm food - the food in the main dining room had been prepared well in advance and tasted like it had been sitting around for quite a while (often lukewarm and stale bread with dinner). The Garden Cafe is like a cafeteria and the quality of the food is poor with cheap artificially flavoured ingredients. In the outdoor areas, drinks are served in disposable plastic cups. They ran out of many items; my wine on day 2, fresh fruit was limited (they ran out of water melon on arrival to New Zealand) they have a mojito bar and ran out of mint! they ran out of fresh milk and had milk in little UHT containers. I actually lost weight on this Cruise General The Good: great wide decks, good lifts and onboard communication screens. Port arrivals and disembarkation were well organised. Most of the staff were friendly and offered good service The Bad: very dated décor, low ceilings and very dark throughout the ship especially in the restaurants. General cleaning and removal of rubbish around the vessel was not up to standard. Empty cigarette packs and dirty glasses were noticed in some areas for 3 days before they were cleaned away. Room service dirty dishes left in hallways for many hours. Drinks were very expensive as an 18% gratuity is added to each purchase and then USA to Australian conversion. A very expensive $39 US for airport shuttle (double the price of Australian cruises), Shore excursions were also very overpriced. Smoking is allowed in Casino. Staff often talked amongst themselves in their own languages in front of guests. Read Less
Norwegian Jewel Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 4.2
Dining 4.0 3.8
Entertainment 4.0 4.1
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family 4.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.8
Enrichment 1.0 3.4
Service 3.0 4.2
Value For Money 4.0 3.9
Rates 3.0 4.1

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