2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Salty food EXPENSIVE excursions are the Jewels main features!!! Took a 15 day trip on this cruise ship from Yokohama Japan to Vancouver, Canada and my blood pressure went up 60 points in 15 days!!! Food on this ship is salty and ... Read More
Salty food EXPENSIVE excursions are the Jewels main features!!! Took a 15 day trip on this cruise ship from Yokohama Japan to Vancouver, Canada and my blood pressure went up 60 points in 15 days!!! Food on this ship is salty and terrible and rarely served hot in main dining room !!!! Beef I tasted were from the cheapest cuts from the cheapest vendor and tasted HORRIBLE!!! Norwegian is such a stingy cruise line they don't even allow you to bring water bottles on the ship cause they want to sell them to you at $4.00 a 20 ounce bottle plus a whopping 20% service charge to boot!!! Wine prices were also very steep for wine that costs $4.00 a bottle in California they charge $26 PLUS 20 % service on top of that!!!If wine you bring wine from home they confiscate it or demand $15 a bottle service charge even if you drink it in the privacy of your own room. Norwegian scans your luggage and if they find wine they make you pick up your luggage and pay service charge of $15 a bottle. EVERYTHING on the ship is expensive and the the excursions are outrageous. They price gouge their customers at every single opportunity!!!! There supplemental restaurants are substandard and there chefs are cooks NOT chefs!! Cagneys was steak was a HUGE grilled piece of fat with perhaps 35% meat on it!!! The french restaurant was also TERRIBLE!!! French soup tasted like salt soup and the four mushrooms soup also tasted extremely salty!!! I paid $1375 for a window including a single supplement not a bad price had the food been edible. I will say the room was nice and the gym was acceptable and opened till 11:00. I would NEVER cruise with this company again!!When you won a trivia game you got no prize. On another cruise ship the winning trivia group got a bottle of sparkling wine but this company is too cheap to do that. Also at breakfast the eggs Benedict was awful and the lox and bagels comes with yellow cream cheese that tastes like chemicals and grease!!!If you cruise alone they rarely ever seat you with other people at dinner and lunch so you either eat dinner with the single cruisers or you eat alone on this ship !!! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
The Jewel has been refurbished but not to the extent that it needed. I have never seen a harder working general manager (still hotel director to me) than Stephen. His problem is he can only deal with the staff he has been given. I ... Read More
The Jewel has been refurbished but not to the extent that it needed. I have never seen a harder working general manager (still hotel director to me) than Stephen. His problem is he can only deal with the staff he has been given. I certainly understand that all the employees from the Joy needed to be dispersed throughout the company but the lack of a clear understanding of English is a problem. The ship layout is difficult for someone used to the new Breakaway class. My last review of the Bliss was that it was "bliss". This was a long cruise and there were many sea days. It is hard to come up with enrichment activities that suit all. The lectures were wonderful. There was so much "trivia" that I had to retreat to my cabin to keep myself from going mad. The spa is certainly not up to par with the newer ships. It did not have a glass door so the door was kept open in order to help people find it. In keeping it open all the heat escaped. Even on a heated bed one needed a robe and towel covering to keep from being cold. The hot tub in the ladies only locker room had resting chairs by it. Those chairs had real fabric upholstery. Some regular deck chairs would make much more sense. I never felt that I could sit/lay on one of those chairs in a wet bathing suit. So many little things that one does not find lacking on a new ship. Too many to mention. I do still fully support NCL and intend to travel only on NCL. I write this review only as I feel it is necessary that all know the difference in the various ships. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
We chose this cruise for the interesting ports and had a terrific time. The newly refurbished Jewel is beautiful and we much prefer the smaller ships. We had quite a few Sea days and Ncl had many activities scheduled. Trivia multiple ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the interesting ports and had a terrific time. The newly refurbished Jewel is beautiful and we much prefer the smaller ships. We had quite a few Sea days and Ncl had many activities scheduled. Trivia multiple times a day, dance classes, cake and cooking demonstrations, etc. One thing I found difficult to get information on before the cruise was how Ncl would handle crossing the international dateline. Basically, most nights we moved our clocks forward one hour to catch up with the current time for the port stops. Then, the night that we moved across the international dateline instead of moving forward we moved it 23 hours backwards. This gained us one extra day. It happens to be Mother’s Day, May 12, so we all celebrated twice. I also want to comment on our stop in Petropavlovsk Russia. Although technically no visa is needed to get a shower, and prior Crucis people have just been able to walk off the ship with no excursions scheduled. We had an independent excursion that we booked ourselves. Two days before we arrived in Russia, Ncl advised everyone that you had to have an excursion, either with Ncl or independent, to leave the ship. Fortunately we have paperwork from our tour guide and were able to provide them with that. As a last minute solutions, Ncl arranged for an eight dollar round-trip shuttle although technically no visa is needed to get a sure, and prior cruises people have just been able to walk off the ship with no excursions scheduled. We had an independent excursion that we booked ourselves. Two days before we arrived in Russia, Ncl advised everyone that you had to have an excursion, either with Ncl or independent, to leave the ship. Fortunately we have paperwork from our tour guide and were able to provide them with that. As a last minute solutions, Ncl arranged for an eight dollar round-trip shuttle to The small downtown area that would suffice and satisfy the Russian authorities. This had nothing to do with Ncl, it was merely a change from Russia. Another comment, small downtown that would suffice and satisfy the Russian authorities. This had nothing to do with NCL, it was merely a change from Russia. Another comment, they have now built a cruise port there and we did not tender ashore. It did take a long time to get our passports back and get a sure, we landed at 5 AM in the Russian immigration came right on and started checking everyone’s passports but the last ones were not cleared until 10:45 AM. You were able to get off in groups based on your passport being ready, excursions first, followed by Haven, then called by floor. Service at all the bars and restaurants was top-notch. Never a wait for anything, it was a very quiet, older and civilized crowd. Not sure what the average age was but since it was and I’m gonna cruise in the weather was chilly there wasn’t too much in the way of loud partying, but still plenty of fun to go around. One of the most fun afternoon so we had was on a cruise critic pub crawl. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
This was the first time on Norwegian Cruise line and was very impressed with the service, food and the entertainment. There was never any waiting for a table in any dining rooms, the staff were very attentive. I have cruised with a ... Read More
This was the first time on Norwegian Cruise line and was very impressed with the service, food and the entertainment. There was never any waiting for a table in any dining rooms, the staff were very attentive. I have cruised with a lot of other cruise lines and you always feel you are being push into a paying speciality restaurant in some form or another like serving crap food in main dining room to encourage you to go to the speciality restaurant and pay but not with Norwegian Cruise line on the Jewel the food was excellent no matter where you ate and to eat when you like and where you like was great even had breakfast till midday, now try that on any other line and you miss out on breakfast. The ship was full but there was no problems getting a seat anywhere on the ship for all meals. You can even eat at 2am in the morning which I did a couple of times as I felt a bit peckish after dancing to the brilliant music and then finishing at the casino I would go and have some fish and chips in O'sheehan's which is open 24hr now try and get that on any other cruise line. Other cruise lines once 9pm hits there is nothing other than room service which you have to pay for but on Norwegian cruise line there is no reason to use room service. There was even two soft serve ice cream machines open from lunch until late. The staff are amazing and were very attentive to your needs and very friendly and happy. I have noticed some ships are given 6 stars and I give Norwegian Cruise line 6 Stars and can justify my reasons. 1) Restaurants no waiting for a table at any restaurants Eat where you want and when you want and with who you want, unlike other ships where you are pushed onto large table groups. The Jewel you were give a table for two every time unless you requested a large table. Waiters very helpful and friendly and happy and a ratio of 1 crew to 2 passengers. Food available 24 hrs a day and this was not room service either. Breakfast was available till 12 noon, no other ship does that. Seating in lounge and theatre Seating in lounge areas were plenty and theatre there was always plenty of room. 2) Service I didn't need to get waiters attention as they would always be near your table and if you looked up as if you were about to ask for help they would be there and even when i dropped my napkin on the floor and before i could bend down to pick it up a waiter would already be picking it up and telling me he would get me a clean one. even in one of the other small main dining rooms we had a personal waiter who attended to what ever we needed. very impressed. 3)The Alcohol was included at all bars and restaurants and no limit. The only thing we didn't have was a butler but who needs one just to unpack. Would I go on this line again the answer is yes and I think now this line would be the only line for me. Would I recommend it to others and the answer is yes, go try it for yourself. Keep up the good work Norwegian Cruise Line. Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We booked a 10 day cruise from Hong Kong to Tokyo for some R&R and see some new Asian sights. Positives The cabin attendants were very courteous and helpful. The room was very clean and refreshed The ship was refurbished ... Read More
We booked a 10 day cruise from Hong Kong to Tokyo for some R&R and see some new Asian sights. Positives The cabin attendants were very courteous and helpful. The room was very clean and refreshed The ship was refurbished and everything is bright and current, yet somehow lacking excitement. Massage (deep tissue) was top rated. Needs Improvement Dining - Good with way too much more focus on quality at the expense of quantity/variety. I swear there’s a conveyor belt from the buffet to all the restaurants. You think you’ll get a choice steak at the Tsar’s restaurant, but it’s the same product as on the buffet. Yes, the desserts at the Tsar’s Palace are the same out of the box junk available on the buffet. Not a decent dessert to be had on board really, but the caramel sauce was delicious. With the exception of the lettuce, all fresh fruits and veggies were consistently of mediocre to good quality. I wouldn’t have eaten a tomato on that ship. Also try the buffet at the very end of the ship - keep walking back from the main buffet. Open air and very relaxing. Internet - Very Pricy but so so so slow. I had a need to log onto a secure website but never could get in as I kept getting timed out. Staff - hard working and try, but I don’t believe they’re empowered to provide customer service. I can say the staff, however, is trained to say they understand, but they can’t really do anything to address the issue. As an example, I had an urgent need to scan a signed document at 11:30 PM one night due to a legal matter. I really tried to explain the urgency of the matter at hand. The front desk advised that the staff don’t have external email accounts and only managers have external service. Again, I explained the urgency of my request and how limited I was 8,000 miles from home. “I understand, and I’m sorry.,” was the response. I asked for the manager, and the front desk was very reluctant to call. So, I gave up, took pictures of the document and sent them to a friend who cleaned them up before submitting them. Hours to send 11 pages. Did I tell you the internet was slow??? Excursion desk - We took every tour available. The tour companies were good. I put in a form to book a tour/transfer to Our hotel in Tokyo. The Excursion Desk called me at 6:30 PM to advise it was sold out and to go to the front desk to book a bus to Tokyo Station. The front desk said they stopped taking reservations for that bus at 4 PM. The excursion desk was somehow reluctant to help me with other options. . Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
I was on a private charter of the Jewel from Hong Kong to Tokyo for a 10 night adventure. I had a balcony room to myself for the holiday. Boarding went smoothly but when it was announced that all the staterooms were ready, mine was still ... Read More
I was on a private charter of the Jewel from Hong Kong to Tokyo for a 10 night adventure. I had a balcony room to myself for the holiday. Boarding went smoothly but when it was announced that all the staterooms were ready, mine was still not. Even after I was allowed in, I had to call back the room attendant there was still dirt on the glass shelves in the bathroom. Not having a clean bathroom from the start was only the begining of a poorly run ship. I gave 3 stars because my state room was great and the entertainment was very good. One of our biggest complaints was the overt and racist "Washy, washy, happy, happy" in a mocking Asian accent, that were were greeted with when entering the cafeteria at every meal. How insensitive! Our Asian friends, and this cruise originated in Hong Kong so many were on board. Were horrified as we were to find out that this is a NCL saying and the crew are required to say it. I reached out to NCL on Facebook messenger and I could see they read my concerns but never responded! After a 12 million dollar restoration you expect things to work. There were so many things broken and not fixed it became was a joke. We asked every day for the lockers in the spa to work. Were told that no one had complained and they all worked, but the attendant who came to help us could not use them either because they were broken. We were told every day that no one had complained even though they took my room number every day when I said something. In the cafeteria the coffee and expresso machines were out of order most every day and when we said something were were told to go to the end of the ship for the one working machine(it did not work either). Mexican food day, there was no tortillas and asking for guacamole was like pulling teeth.. Seriously, Mexican group was very angry.. as were we..They were so stingy with tortillas we were only allowed 2 each and one teaspoon of guacamole. I made the girl angry by demanding more.. I wanted some for my tortilla chips and salsa.. which had no spice or heat. We tried the main dining rooms, but the service was so bad and the food either over cooked or just cold(cold french fries with a cold not edible steak) That was after the fish I ordered was so dry it was not edible. We had a table of 8 one night and the food came out so slow for some of us that many of our friends had finished dinner and desert by the time we were getting our main meal. It was inexcusable. We finally had a good meal at Le Bistro after the Restaurant's manager personally took us there and paid for our meal and wine as he was so embarrassed! The Brazilian restaurant was also very good, But you had to pay for that. We ate at Tapanyaki the first night and it was a joke! The "chef" did a song and dance and tapped spatulas, many of which he dropped! The rice was not edible as it was so salty and the meat was tasteless. We had to ask for salt for that! We were rushed through the meal that should have been a show. I wasn't even able to finish my food as they wanted to move on.. The entertainment was good but the drinks were a joke. They upcharged and seemed to forget what the price was inconsistent from each server and each bar. They poured premium even if you asked not and still charged your room. You asked for well drinks and they poured premium! The shore excursions were poorly run and often the guides level of English was not understandable. Mostly a waste. My bed was comfortable and the water pressure in my shower was impressive, but you could not pay me to get on another NCL ship. My whole group lost weight as often the food was terrible. We would head to get chocolate ice cream soft serve 4 times a day to keep the weight on. But even those machines didn't always work and it was not easy getting anyone to pay attention to take care of simple things. We thought the ship was a floating Denny's. Even that food would have been preferable. I paid over $5000 for my own balcony on a 10 night cruise. That works out to $500 a day, for that money we should have had good food! Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Where to start? Let me start with the positives , I found the crew (except for the hostess in Chin Chin) to be universally cheerful and helpful. The Cast and Crew of the stage entertainment were excellent and professional - I really ... Read More
Where to start? Let me start with the positives , I found the crew (except for the hostess in Chin Chin) to be universally cheerful and helpful. The Cast and Crew of the stage entertainment were excellent and professional - I really enjoyed the cast shows. And that's it.... Now lets look at the negatives. Our Balcony room , especially the bathroom was tiny. It was the same size of my inside cabin on the P&O Oriana......and THAT was lacking in the cat swinging facilities. The bed was comfortable , the balcony area was the smallest I have used in all my cruises. Excursions. I booked 3 with CruiseExcursions.com and all were half the cost of the Norwegian offerings (for the same tour). Thankfully , the debacle of the tendering at Ko Samui seems to have been sorted , in fact , to give them their due , it was probably the most efficient operation I have experienced.The three excursions that I booked with Norwegian occured as expected. One problem with the itinerary of this Cruise was that the cities advertised were a very long distance from the ports used , Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh city and Hanoi were all at least a 4 hour round trip. We had an overnight stay in 'Bangkok' but there was no real prospect of sampling its infamous nightlife because of the travelling time . This was a wasted overnight stay , a far better option would have been to overnight in Ha Long Bay which seemed to offer many excellent sightseeing opportunities and could be walked to in 15 mins!. Norwegian charged $99 for a Cambodian Visa , irrespective if you left the ship or not , now it may be Cambodian law that a visa must be issued , but the visa in my passport cost $30.... a $70 profit filched by Norwegian left a very bad taste in my mouth. Entertainment. I hardly saw the Cruise Director at all, and the offerings during the day were a mixture of quizzes and deck sports. There were however , a large choice of Pay activities . The Pool areas were clean and there were plenty of sunbeds. Evening entertainment consisted of a variety of one , two or four piece bands that played in all the main lounges and bars , in fact it was difficult to find some peace and quiet . entertainment finished early , the deck parties closed down when there were hundreds still partying, and most venues shut at midnight, despite having guests using them eg: Karaoke bar!. Food . I found the food palatable but not exciting . We tried Tsars Palace and Azure for evening meals , portions were small. There was no problem about getting a table for 2 , in fact we were never asked if we wanted to share a table....so imagine our surprise when a couple were sat at our table in Azure! Luckily , we enjoy sharing......... The buffet restaurant was good for variety , but they should install some microwaves for guests to reheat the lukewarm offerings. The Jewel is the smallest ship in NCL's fleet, TBH it was tooo small for me , there wasn't the breadth of entertainment that you get on the larger ships . This visit for me didn't give me any reason to book NCL in the future, i'm off back to Celebrity and Royal Caribbean! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Norwegian really disappointed. I'll start with the positives. PRO'S: - Good sized bathroom and shower. No shower curtain sticking to you! - Decent food in the buffet, Garden Café - 2018 refurbishment of this ship ... Read More
Norwegian really disappointed. I'll start with the positives. PRO'S: - Good sized bathroom and shower. No shower curtain sticking to you! - Decent food in the buffet, Garden Café - 2018 refurbishment of this ship makes it feel more modern - Good/modern Fitness Centre - Great shows And now the negatives, of which there were so many... CON'S: - TERRIBLE main dining room food and service. The worst dining room food I've had out of the 60+ cruises I've been on - Main dining room service as bad as the food - VERY uncomfortable theatre seats. The ship has great shows but its not remotely comfortable sitting watching them unfortunately. - Stateroom steward not friendly. Not attentive at all. Provided very disappointing service - Laundry Service damaged 4 items. And the rest came back smelling awful - the worst laundering services I've ever experienced - The majority of the ships staff were inattentive and disinterested in providing good customer service - Overall, it's an old ship - you can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig. The Jewel is an old, worn ship. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
I bought this cruise for my husbands 60th birthday to do something different as he had never been to KL, Langkawi, Penang and Phuket before. Unfortunately, it didn't leave us with too many great memories. We have done many ... Read More
I bought this cruise for my husbands 60th birthday to do something different as he had never been to KL, Langkawi, Penang and Phuket before. Unfortunately, it didn't leave us with too many great memories. We have done many cruises and maybe we have been a bit spoilt on Princess and Celebrity, but never had we been on NCL and not sure if we will ever sail with them again. Embarkation from Singapore Marina Bay Sands Cruise Centre was easy. A little unorganised but nothing to whine about. On arrival onto the ship we went to the Tsar's, which is one of the main dining areas and very spacious. It was probably the best meal we had on board the whole time. Did a quick tour of the ship and I liked the decor and nothing felt too crowded, it was refurbished in 2018. Afternoon we had to do the normal safety briefing and then we decided to go to one of the bars and have a beer and cider. Holly molly, the cost for these 2 basic drinks was ridiculous. As everything is in US dollars, you also need to add the 20% mandatory gratuity and then for us Aussies, do the 30% difference in exchange rate, the 2 basic drinks cost us $22 AUD for basic leadin beer and cider. If you can purchase a package with drinks included, it is the way to go. Our deal was so cheap without drinks, it wasn't worth to pay the big difference in fare, but it just made it hard to justify spending so much on drink purchases. I did purchase a 4 bottle wine pack for $80 US plus grats and exchange, it was still expensive but saved us a bit on board. FYI for anyone who doesn't know, NCL will not allow you to bring anything (including water etc), onto the ship apart from wine, champagne which will incur the US15 corkage fee. Anyone wanting to purchase a drinks package onboard, US99 per person per day plus 20% gratuity plus then again convert to AUD. The most expensive drink package we have ever seen on any ship, and we have been on quite a few different ones. Dining on board: Went mostly to Tsar's main dining for lunch and dinner when we could. First day was great but from then on it was really hit and miss like the rest of the ship. Tried also the buffet, which was okay and on one night we went to Azura. We waited a long time for our meal here and also, it was very stuffy. I preferred Tsar's. In room dining, we preordered the coffee etc for the morning, otherwise any other in room dining you have to pay for. Desserts - don't know what is going on there but not one great dessert was to be had anywhere on the ship. A few other people made the same comment. Cabin Steward: He was wonderful and tried to do everything to keep us happy. First time I had ever been on a ship when the cabin steward didn't come and introduce themselves on the first day. He did manage to get us use of a coffee machine so we can boil water for the hot water bottle (bad back). That was very useful. Bed was comfortable and bathroom was larger than normal. It was always kept wonderfully clean. Staff on board: Some were fantastic and really wanted to look after you. Others, couldn't care less. Also, it seems that NCL just doesn't let them make any decisions on their own, but they have to check with a Supervisor who then has to check with someone else. Never experienced this before either. Example of the issue for us (and seen other people having issues), with the wine pack I bought, you were given 4 vouchers and a choice of 8 wines. On the vouchers they wrote what wine you may wish to have, but was advised no issue to change to one to the others in the pack if you like one more than the other. OMG. who would ever think changing from one wine to other would be an issue. I know better now. Entertainment: As most days we were off the ship, didn't experience much on board. Went to a few shows which were good. The magician was terrible. Shore excursions: Do yourself and favour and either a) organise your own private tours before you leave home or b) just go with taxis when you arrive and haggle. Shore excursions onboard where minimum double the price of what you could get on your own. Ports: Port Klang for KL. We did overnight here so the first day did a private half day tour of Port Klang area and then had the same wonderful driver to the following full day in KL. Very enjoyable and Robbie our drive was fantastic to deal with. Took us anywhere we wanted to go and was so flexible. Had some wonderful street food also. Langkawi - outside the gate there are heaps of taxi drivers waiting for you, or, you can pay the $15 US return bus ticket to be dropped off at the Aquarium which is just across the road from the main beach, heaps of restaurants and shops. Be aware the shops don't have much these days in the way of bargains or shopping. All the same and it has changed alot in the 4 years since I was there last time. Penang - as you are right in the centre of town, you can just walk around, get a taxi outside the gate and do whatever. We opted for another full day private tour as it was my husbands 60th. Had another fantastic driver that took us to many sights and places while telling alot of funny jokes on the way. It was a wonderful day out. Phuket - our tender was to Patong, and if you get up early and get one of the first few, there was no wait at all. At the jetty in Patong you will have to run the gauntlet of taxi drivers and people trying to sell you stuff. We hired a driver for 5 hours and went driving and saw a few sights. You can also just spend the day on the beach which is right beside the jetty also. Phuket is not my favourite places and would prefer to go back to Penang and go to Batu Ferringhi beach instead. (Also NCL before leaving home, we asked then 2 times where we would be docking and was told both times it was the Deep Sea Port, but onboard the advised with was always Patong. Not sure how they could get this wrong. Deep Sea Port is 45 minute drive away. Disembarkation was quick and easy and as we always try to walk off our own luggage, we could leave at any time. Be aware that the taxis from Marina Bay Sands Cruise centre charge a minimum fee of $55 during peak time. Overall we had a good time but not great. We won't rush back at all to experience NCL again. If they didn't charge so much for everything on board, got a little bit more flexible and tried to improve the food a bit more, it would be a wonderful experience. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
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
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
My wife and I chose this cruise because of the itinerary and the add on pre cruise tour of Cambodia. Embarkation was smooth and efficient. Once onboard we were told an announcement would be broadcast when our cabins were ready. After a ... Read More
My wife and I chose this cruise because of the itinerary and the add on pre cruise tour of Cambodia. Embarkation was smooth and efficient. Once onboard we were told an announcement would be broadcast when our cabins were ready. After a bit of exploring we went to the buffet for a drink and a snack. Much the same as all other buffets people piling plates like it was to be their last meal and difficult to find a seat. No announcement came so we went looking to find our cabin was ready. The room was clean and tidy but a bit on the small side to other cabins and rather less storage. The balcony was also on the small side and a bit scruffy. My wife's luggage turned up fairly prompt but no sign of mine so off we went exploring and to have a cocktail or two. Time for dinner and still no luggage. I informed our cabin steward who said she would go and find out where it was. We didn't see her again until 3 days later when she said hello and asked how we were. The next time was our last night when she asked us to fill out a card that chose a crew member who excelled. So it was off to dinner in the clothes I had been wearing all day. Dinner was ok but nothing to brag about. Back to the cabin still no luggage so off to customer services. I told them of the problem and rather offhandedly the lady asked me if I had checked the luggage room. when I replied no I though luggage was always delivered to the staterooms. She said I should have checked there. Keep calm I told myself. I had to ask her where it was and made my way there. I located my case in the said room and was told it had been held back because there was a pair of scissors in my case. I had to get the scissors out and show them and was then told they were ok and I could take my case. This was now 9.00pm. My wife asked them why the information had not been sent to our room instead of us having to go round investigating. Norwegians customer experience is slowly going down the pan. Dining was not a great experience. We used Azure once and thought the room was dark and the low ceiling made it feel too compact and the meal was average but service was very good. Chin Chin was bright and cheerful and the meal was excellent as was the service. The other nights we had dinner in the Tsars Palace. This is a very delightful room, bright, spacious and luxurious. Service was ok most nights but there were some excellent waiters. The meals were quite mediocre and didn't live up to the opulence of the room. One night I had a lamb shank that was served with a slice of carrot and half a roast potato. I am not a huge eater but this was a bit ridiculous. Another night we ordered Irish coffees and as soon as they arrived we could see they were not right. The cream had all dissolved into the coffee, we picked them up and they were cold. We told the waiter who took them away and replaced them. The replacements weren't cold but slightly warm. We just left them. We told our waiter the following night and he told us they had run out of the whipped cream and were using powdered cream. He told us he would personally make coffees for us. The ones he made were very good. We found a lot of the meals we had were very average and quite often they were only warm. This was the only cruise where I only had one cooked breakfast due to the first one being lukewarm. The rest of the time it was toast, fruit and cereals. Bar service in general was very good except for when they ran out of mint for the mojitos. There was only one night where the entertainment was excellent. This was the Circus act. Some of the acrobatics were spectacular. The rock night was enjoyable. Two of the nights had solo female singers who I thought we just ok. The other night was not my scene at all with some very weird artists. the strangest being one huge overweight guy dancing in a leotard. It made me wonder why females have to cover their breasts when this guy had bigger breasts than some of the girls and he had them swinging about everywhere. But he was well received but not by me. The resident band were very good and performed a wide variety of songs. I cant comment on the activities on board as we only had one sea day so didn't explore. Cant comment on excursions either as we planned our own. We could not find any information on the ports we visited. This was our first Norwegian cruise and we found nothing that would make us want to cruise with them again Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
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
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
Chosen for the timing, stops, and convenience from Taiwan. The problems started with embarkation. 4 huge seating areas. A few wandering workers. You get a number for the 15 service desks. Turns out 50 people have the same number. Worse, ... Read More
Chosen for the timing, stops, and convenience from Taiwan. The problems started with embarkation. 4 huge seating areas. A few wandering workers. You get a number for the 15 service desks. Turns out 50 people have the same number. Worse, the announcement of the number is called out by someone walking the aisles amid the din. The cabin was the tiniest ever encountered, with stool angled from the wall but not enough to put a leg over. Supplies would run out, and no morning service until after noon. There was not a decent steak on board, not at the buffet, not at the dining room, not at the steakhouse. No lobster. I was informed they stopped serving libster 10 years ago, though the NCL booking agent assured mre there would be a lobster night. In contrast, Holland America has at least 1 lobster night on every cruise we've been on, as well as great steak every night. Very few activities on board, and no happy hour at all. That's enough. My wife said never again. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We joined a group of friends who had selected this cruise. The food in the dining room at dinner time was inconsistent, ranging from very good to inedible (eg steaks). Our server Marie was excellent. Breakfast and lunch in the ... Read More
We joined a group of friends who had selected this cruise. The food in the dining room at dinner time was inconsistent, ranging from very good to inedible (eg steaks). Our server Marie was excellent. Breakfast and lunch in the dining room was consistently very good. Our cabin midship on the fourth deck by the tender gangway should not be used for guests. There was consistent irritating noises day and night from ship operations. The on-board entertainment and musicians were excellent. We particularly enjoyed listening to the Love Brothers and Lira. Other than the Tsar’s Palace main dining room we ate in O’Sheehan’s which we found quite good. We did not eat at the Garden Cafe buffet or any of the specialty restaurants. The alcohol prices were more than we were willing to pay even though we enjoy a glass of wine at dinner time. The majority of our alcohol consumption was while we were in port. We chose private shore excursions with our group of twelve rather than ship excursions. We prefer the chance to customize our own tours at a cost savings. For example the Ancient Temples Tour in Ko Samui, Thailand listed at $149.00 per person from the ship was done by our group by private tour arranged on shore for $20.00 per person for basically the same tour. Activities listed in the daily schedule were mostly money making for the cruise line. In summary it is highly unlikely that we will sail with Norwegian again unless they are the only ones that have an itinerary that we want to do. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We chose this cruise based primarily on the itinerary. In summary we had a good vacation despite a few notable shortcomings with Norwegian. We found the ship to be very relaxing with a good mix of entertainment options, public spaces like ... Read More
We chose this cruise based primarily on the itinerary. In summary we had a good vacation despite a few notable shortcomings with Norwegian. We found the ship to be very relaxing with a good mix of entertainment options, public spaces like casino, bars, pool, etc; and nice private spaces - our stateroom was the perfect size for our family of 3 (larger than the Celebrity cruise we took a few years back). Service onboard was generally adequate. Many guest facing folks were nice, and enthusiastic. However, there was a higher proportion of staff on this cruise who simply weren't as friendly as they should have been. Specialty restaurant waitstaff were generally underwhelming. Front desk / reception was a challenge (they were not able to help on really the only 2 issues that came up for us). Not only could they not help, but they definitely did not display empathy nor the desire to go out of their way to come up with creative solutions. Check-in in Hong Kong was not as described - we arrived around 12:30 and were issued a queue number, ended up waiting about 2 hours to get checked in and onboard. Once we were called to check in, the process was quick and efficient. I was surprised and uncomfortable with the fact that they collected our passports (and kept them) at the boarding door. I don't think this was communicated ahead of time, and in general was not something I felt good about. When I asked why this was happening, the woman literally laughed at me - perhaps a language/culture barrier problem but off-putting nonetheless. Food - was OK, definitely a mixed bag. Leathery bacon at the buffet - consistently. Ice cream machines that couldn't keep up with demand (serving liquidy soft serve). Chin Chin's was in general not tasty (we ordered 5 different entrees among 4 adults) and the only one that tasted good was the sweet/sour pork. Cagney's steak was supremely disappointing - meat quality was mid-market grocery store level (think safeway or albertson's "choice" cuts). The silver lining in this cloud was the notion that since the food wasn't great, we didn't overeat. Ever. I overheard other adults making similar statements. With about 3 days remaining onboard, we found there were some things they were running out of. No pineapple at the buffet. No lemons for iced tea. No sprinkles for ice cream. These seem like small things, but they are the little things that make a vacation great or less-than-great. Excursions - the selection was a bit thin. Too many similar outings to temples across the various ports. Would have been nice to have a few more cultural viewpoints that were more diversified. Also, our experience in Cambodia was not good - a beach with no amenities and a market with no amenities. Other tours were too limited in availability and we did not get our reservation in on time. The brightest shining stars on this cruise: 1) The cabin was large (we had a mini suite balcony - essentially one room with a curtain divider between the bed and the pull-out sofabed). Much nicer than our previous experience on Celebrity. The fact that it has recently been renewed I think helped. 2) Our 6-year old absolutely loved the Kids Club. We literally couldn't pull her away. The staff were all amazing, engaging, fun. Lots of great activities. This was our first Norwegian cruise and while we didn't hate it, they also didn't make a good enough impression on us to convince us to stop trying new cruise lines. Our next cruise likely won't be with Norwegian. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary although we had been to all of the countries that were on the itinerary as recent as on a river cruise in 2017 to Viet Nam and Cambodia. The embarkation took 2 1/2 hours of which was the ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary although we had been to all of the countries that were on the itinerary as recent as on a river cruise in 2017 to Viet Nam and Cambodia. The embarkation took 2 1/2 hours of which was the longest embark that we had to endure after a long flight from US to Hong Kong one day prior. We were tired and hungry, but all of the restaurants were closed by the time we got on board because it was time for Muster. Our package included premium beverage, four specialty dining restaurants, unlimited internet, which was nice although the internet was crawling most of the time, and 120 free phone calls of which we used 55 minutes. We were extremely dissapponted to find out that we had to pay NCL $69 each to get a Viet Nam Visa and $89 each for a Cambodia Visa at embark. Of course, we were not aware of getting visas in advance because we planned not to get off in Cambodia because the ship only port one day there, and because we were in Cambodia 2017. The River Cruise Company advised us in advance that we had to get visa for Nam and Cambodia, but NCL did not. Moreover, Viet Nam charges $25 for its Visa; Cambodia charges $30, and it took us less than 5 weeks to get both visa. NCL charged $69 and $89, 3x the charge??? When several passengers asked the crews at the reception, one said because it was an emergency visas; other said to me because they “are merchant” visas. I pointed to that crew member the Viet Nam visa that was stapled to my passports in 2017 indicating that was a “merchant” visa, too, yet, I didn’t have to pay $69 and I got to keep the visa. I don’t know if that crew member got trained appropriately or he thought he could fool me into believing his feeble infor. On this trip, we had to turn in our Nam Visa on the last port day in Nam. So for those who want to keep it for souvenir are of our luck! The food in the Specialty Dining Restaurants was mediocre and poor in some instances. The restaurants’ staffs seemed trying but the execution was poor. At Cagney’s Steak house, I asked for a medium rare filet mignon, it came out rare. The server took it back, the kitchen recooked the steak that I already cut into instead of giving me a new one. What happened if I were sick with a cold or have some kind of contagious illness? Some thoughts for the management. Another incident at Chin Chin, Asian Fusion Restaurant, a line item on the menu, “Chinese Chicken...” one of the passengers asked the server, “what is Chinese Chicken?” The server responded with a laugh, “may be it’s small...” He then apologized later knowing what he said was inappropriate. Note for NCL management, there should be no Chinese Chickens, no American Chickens, and etc...on the menu. There were many more that we could name. In summary, we have cruised many times on large cruise ships and many more on river cruise ships, our experiences were better than NCL, which was our first time. We are not so sure if we want to give NCL a second chance! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
Was the first time we cruised with Norwegian and very likely the last. The cruise line policy includes many extra charges that make the value for the money poor. It starts with drinking water (!), the cruise offers for sale packages of ... Read More
Was the first time we cruised with Norwegian and very likely the last. The cruise line policy includes many extra charges that make the value for the money poor. It starts with drinking water (!), the cruise offers for sale packages of NCL branded drinking water. If you want any other brand, you need to buy it from the bar where the price (including automatically 20% service) comes to over $6. 20% service is for handing you the bottle. Specialty restaurants are extra. Best choices for shore tours are sold at a price too high for the level of this cruise. The activities may become overcrowded in particular in shore tours. From the specialty restaurants. we preferred the steakhouse Cagney's and Chin Chin Chinese, Sushi). Chin Chin is included except sushi, Cagney's is extra with prices on a la carte menu. It is worth to purchase the specialty restaurant package that basically includes 5 meals in any specialty restaurant. Out of 8 entertainment opportunities, only 2 were of good quality, both in the last days of the cruise. There is one shore trip included in each port, however we found out that in about 50% of the ports we preferred to purchase non included shore tours which are relative expensive. If you want to enjoy, plan to spend around $2000 extra per cabin - that would include gratuities, specialty restaurants, shore tours and reasonable drinking. The unlimited drink package is about $100/pp/day, for a 14 days cruise, only this may be $2,800..... Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We are a couple in our 70's and this was our first cruise. Having spent 4 hectic days in Singapore a really great place with loads to do, we looked forward to some quiet time before setting off on our excursions in Thailand, ... Read More
We are a couple in our 70's and this was our first cruise. Having spent 4 hectic days in Singapore a really great place with loads to do, we looked forward to some quiet time before setting off on our excursions in Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. Quiet time was to prove a challenge on Ncl Jewel. The endless loud music all over the ship was not what we needed, but to be fair it probably suited some guests. Our cabin was always kept clean and tidy by our steward a lovely girl always chatty and with a smile on her face. A lesson yet to be learnt by the staff in the Asian restaurant who can only be described as rude, one visit was enough, bad manners and indifferent food ensured we didn't return. Dining is a big part of any holiday, but the buffet restaurant experience was not for us, the endless search for a table and high noise levels plus guests prodding the food (sometimes with their fingers) resulted in us referring to it as the zoo. However refuge was found in the two main dining rooms, Tzars and Azurs and served at the table, a much more pleasant way to enjoy a meal in the evening. A good place for breakfast is the American diner on deck 8, again served at the table with nice views of the ocean. The entertainment was mixed some 5* some not so good you just need to pick and choose a bit. Shore excursions provided by the ship are vastly overpriced we only used them once, it was probably the worst trip of our holiday. We used other providers who charged about half the prices and went the extra mile to give us excellent experiences. Top tip if going to Cambodia and you are a UK citizen get your visa before you go. We paid £30 for ours Ncl were charging people $US89 total rip off. The most worrying thing about this cruise was the fiasco with the tendering on Koh Samui. Much has already been written about this by other guests all of which I endorse. I have to add that we felt it was nothing short of dangerous the way the situation was left to deteriorate by NCL. One would think that anyone working for a cruise line would understand that tides go in and out on a set basis that can be predicted years ahead and not just left to chance on the day. As mentioned earlier we are in our 70's and got separated in the crush on the quay side, I am only 5ft tall and could not see what was going on and it was not nice being constantly pushed from behind by the frustrated mob. It is fortunate that nobody ended up injured or being pushed down the stone steps. BADLY DONE NCL you should be ashamed of yourselves. A mixed bag, would we cruise again? Possibly. Would we use NCL probably not, how to get every last penny out of their guests seems to be their mantra. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
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
1 Helpful Vote
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
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Good: Interesting itinerary in Asia. Interesting mix of nationalities and personalities on cruise. Cabin 9042 clean, pleasant, well located, efficient steward.and everything worked. Plenty of food, some very good (but avoid peak ... Read More
Good: Interesting itinerary in Asia. Interesting mix of nationalities and personalities on cruise. Cabin 9042 clean, pleasant, well located, efficient steward.and everything worked. Plenty of food, some very good (but avoid peak meal times). Variety of venues even without premium charges. Plenty of live music, some very good. Prism a versatile group of good musicians. Most 'hotel' staff friendly and helpful. There were quiet deck areas with space on higher decks (though not near pools). Bad: Excursion quality dodgy and value poor, specially 1 day tour of Saigon traffic jams. The presidential papace was a people jam as a change from traffic. The Buddist temple was the best break from chaos. The lacquerware shop was a waste of time where the main attraction was the chance to use the toilet. Took until 11.45 to get ashore on tender day. Crushes at embarkation (Singapore) and disembarkation (Hong Kong) unpleasant and would probably be illegal for livestock. Customer relations experience variable with sometimes contradictory information. E.g. first contact suggested I write a problem down, second said there was no point in writing and there was nothing for him to do with a written complaint. Ugly There is always a trade-off between treating guests as humans or as credit cards to be maxxed out. The balance here was skewed by high pricing to exploit monopoly power and particularly by making overpriced visas compulsory for guests not going ashore (though website only said visas needed to go ashore). Probably legally dodgy under UK/EU consumer law. Enough to deter us from using NCL again. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Chose this cruise line/ship for the itinerary. Never sailed NCL before and never will again. We have sailed many, many times with Celebrity, Royal, Carnival and princess to name a few and this cruise line fell far below each of those. ... Read More
Chose this cruise line/ship for the itinerary. Never sailed NCL before and never will again. We have sailed many, many times with Celebrity, Royal, Carnival and princess to name a few and this cruise line fell far below each of those. Complete disorganization with tours to the point we waited over 4 hours in the hot sun for a tender to the ship because the crew did not realize low tide was coming in. There were no announcements in fact it took the crew from ANOTHER CRUISE LINE docked there to try and assist. Saw a few of the crew laughing and thought that this was funny....no apologies from NCL - they could care less. Really, are you not a cruise line? The ship was older and no bells or whistles at all. The crew was just average with no one going "out of their way" and while the food was OK, we were not impressed at all. The only positive was the entertainment on the ship which was surprisingly very good. Cabin was typical and again nothing impressive. I would choose Royal or Celebrity in the future and never sail NCL again. Paid quite a bit of money for a disappointing cruise in Asia. In reviewing the actual ship, I would again say it has no bells or whistle. No outdoor movie screens, small grand entrance. Cabins are what you would expect and one feature that I did like was the ability to close a door to the toilet (even though it was clear). Pillows were much nicer then previous cruises. The staff was average but most seemed to just "do their job" and not go above and beyond. While some did have the approach of being super friendly, the majority did not and when they did, it seemed very forced. The entertainment was outstanding. They had shows that you would see in Vegas and I was very impressed that they were able to carry these out on a ship. I would say, this cruise probably had the best entertainment with the exception of Allure of the Seas. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Was booked on Voyage of the Seas out of Singapore but as friends pulled out of the holiday, we cancelled our RC cruise and booked with Norwegian as the dates matched our flight times.....wished we hadn’t now. We’re big fans of ... Read More
Was booked on Voyage of the Seas out of Singapore but as friends pulled out of the holiday, we cancelled our RC cruise and booked with Norwegian as the dates matched our flight times.....wished we hadn’t now. We’re big fans of Norwegian hence why we swapped to this trip. We couldn’t fault our previous cruise on the Breakaway so we had high hopes for our first cruise to the Far East. Firstly, let me say the places we visited were excellent as were the people and our only complaint would be that we didn’t have enough time in them so we are planning to return and spend a few days in each as one day in Bangkok for example just isn’t enough. But as for the cruise itself.... we weren’t happy. The good parts.... as mentioned, the itinerary was great, the frontline cruise staff (waiting staff, cabin steward, bar staff etc) were all great, polite and lovely as they usually are. Food in the Garden Cafe buffet restaurant, Chin Chin’s and Cagney’s speciality restaurant was excellent. The ship’s public areas were nice and smart due to a recent refurb and the ship itself was a smooth sailer. Now for the bad/frustrating elements...... the food in the main Azura restaurant (other than the meal on the last night) wasn’t great and neither was Cucina, Le Bistro & Moderna speciality restaurants. I had a filet mignon in Le Bistro that was so dry, I had to take mouthfuls of water just to swallow it. The oceanview cabin we had was probably the smallest we have ever had with a tiny, weird offset toilet and a bed where we couldn’t walk down the sides to the bed as the overhang of the unused pull down bed meant I had to climb over the bed each night to get into it. As part of the refit, the cabins have been largely left but they’ve replaced the old square tv’s with flat widescreen ones but when open, they overhang the narrow walkway to the door and/or bathroom so it’s easy to unexpectedly walk into at night. The onboard internet was a joke. You don’t need an internet package to access the NCL app functions but the WiFi wouldn’t hold the signal unless I activated our minutes package so I was effectively using up internet minutes to access onboard info. Sometimes it would but most times, it wouldn’t stay connected? In the main, the ship seemed understaffed. Hardly any drinks waiting staff around the ship for example on the pool deck or the buffet so you end up going to the bars, which in itself isn’t a problem. But when you get there and there are often 8+ customers waiting to order various drinks and cocktails and there is only one guy serving? The big single issues.... Embarkation was a nightmare. We were in group 1 as we were amongst the first to check in and despite being Latitidues members, it seemed your status wasn’t as relevant as the queue you started in as the latitudes queued people were given different group identifiers (colours as opposed to number) and were called forward before anyone else. Then the lady with the mic finally called out Group 1, exactly the same as she had called the other groups, so we all stood and started heading towards the ship before she then said ‘don’t go yet....just get ready’?? So we had all moved off our seats whereby newly checked in passengers were now coming through and sitting in them and she’s telling us not to go but to get prepared. Then she said it again and held us in limbo. It was like she was winding us up. Eventually, we get told to go towards the ship. All in all, we had our paperwork checked 6 or 7 times from the time we entered the terminal before going aboard. Why? Completely unnecessary and time consuming as people had put away their documents and just retained their sail away cards and then had to keep retrieving them so someone else could check them.... just wasting time. The first port was Koh Samui which was a tender port. We obeyed the cruise directors instructions to be actually ready to leave the ship before getting a tender ticket. Big mistake..... they didn’t launch enough tenders and we waited for over 2 hours to be called and it was 2 hours 40 minutes before we got to Koh Samui. There were big gaps in calling groups forward. Tenders were taking roughly 10 minutes to load, 20 minutes to cross and approx 5 mins to unload before returning to the ship for the next group. They only had 6 tenders running. So we didn’t get to Koh Samui until 11.40 ish and the last tender was scheduled for 4pm which meant we would only have 3-4 hours in port. Anyway, we headed back around 2.45pm as we didn’t have enough time to go exploring and there was already a long queue on the pier. Instead of loading 2 tenders at a time (as there was 2 loading/unloading points when discharging passengers earlier), NCL was only boarding from 1 point for some reason? The queue was getting longer and longer behind us and people were getting tetchy as some passengers seemingly decided that queuing wasn’t for them and pushed past everyone towards the front, which caused upset for some who were queuing in the hot sunshine. We watched as the NCL crew were seemingly messing around with one of the tenders and after 20 minutes or so, they had to throw a line onto it and tow it. At first we weren’t sure what was going on and thought it had perhaps broken down but it became apparent the tender had run aground as the tide was going out and the NCL crew hadn’t anticipated this. Then all the waiting tenders (there were 4 waiting by this point) turned around and sailed off. Bearing in mind we were watching this fiasco and had no idea what was happening as in typical fashion, we weren’t being told anything. We were towards the middle/front of the queue and didn’t hear anything informing us of what was occurring but we noticed that the queue behind were all moving back down the pier and we could see a mass of people heading towards another pier. So we followed and realised they were changing the boarding location of the tenders to where the other cruise ships (Tui and Aida) we’re boarding from. It was chaos with people rushing and we ended up in a mass crowd near where we think the tenders might now be boarding from. The reason I say that is that we still hadn’t any info from NCL so we were following everyone else like sheep without direct info. There must have been over 1500 people all crowded in. It was very hot, chaotic and a nightmare. We didn’t get back on the ship until 6.20pm (3 hours 35 mins after we joined the initial queue). So all in all, we spent something like 6 hours and 15 minutes waiting for and on a tender. It was a complete joke where we wasted loads of time instead of enjoying the actual port we wanted to visit. The ship left much later than planned..... Tui and Aida didn’t seem to have any problems. In Cambodia, when we got to the pier, there was a line for the shuttle bus. We had to sign up for the $15 tickets so boarded the bus to the town where we ended up hiring a Tuk Tuk type taxi. What we didn’t know was there was a free shuttle bus to the port gate, which is what we would have taken to get a Tuk Tuk, but this wasn’t signposted. When we got to the next port (Phu My), we opted to hire a taxi to go to Saigon. Our relatives decided to take the shuttle to the local town again at a cost of $15. So they went to the desk on the pier exactly as we did at the port before but they, along with everyone else, were told they had to go back on board and get tickets from Reception?? So people were going back and forwards as the procedure kept changing. At the next port, it was tickets on the pier again?? Just disorganised and chaotic. Now with regards to Cambodia, we need a visa for entry and you can get them on arrival. This visa is around $30 so when passengers were being charged $89, they were kicking up. Prior to us leaving the UK, we were told by NCL that visas for different countries could be between $29 and $89 and passengers from different countries may have different visas levered upon them. NCL didn’t specify the prices for different ports. It would be logical to assume that different countries have different charges but to charge $89 for a $30 visa is criminal. NCL are charging almost twice the price of the actual visa for printing out a form that we could have filled out ourselves but they didn’t give us the option. Some people had applied for an online e visa but it didn’t apply to the port of Sihanoukville. It applied to Sihanoukville airport down the road but not the sea port? So some passengers had paid for one visa ($30) and then got charged $89 by NCL regardless of whether they got off the ship or not. Loads of people were complaining at reception and removing their onboard gratuities. One receptionist was even advising it?? And this was for just one day in Cambodia and due to Sihanoukville being subjected to mass building works across the city amongst severe poverty, some cruise ship staff were even advising against bothering to go ashore as they said ‘it wasn’t very nice’?? You couldn’t make it up. We went to a few of the theatre shows. Whilst watching shows, we often had to get up and down multiple times as guests were arriving 10 minutes, 15 minutes and then 20 minutes after the show had began. Personally, I think it’s discourteous to arrive so late and interrupt passengers trying to watch a show but there obviously wasn’t anyone from NCL stopping people from entering the theatre so late so it continued unabated. I saw people across the theatre from us getting up to let people in 30 minutes after the start time?? Lastly, at disembarkation in Hong Kong, we had flights departing at 14.25 so thought we had loads of time to kill in the morning as on pretty much all cruises we’ve been on, disembarkation is usually pretty swift. But no, just to finish the cruise in the same manner the rest of the disorganised chaos had been, we came off the ship and into a departure hall that was chock full of people in a huge, meandering queue where you couldn’t work out where the end of the line was. It took 2 hours to get out of this and into another long queue for taxis. So despite having what we thought was loads of time, we ended up rushing to make our flight. Luckily, we ended up seeing a limo driver who was touting for fares and pulled us out of the queue and into his MPV in the car park above. We headed off to the airport where we just made our check in. If we had stayed in the taxi queue, we wouldn’t have made it. There were no NCL staff around and despite seeing this chaos, NCL on the ship didn’t think to change tack and call passengers who needed to make flights as a priority. The whole cruise from start to finish was a disorganised mess. It felt like the managing senior staff on the NCL Jewel hadn’t operated on cruises before as pretty much every aspect was disorganised and dysfunctional. In that regard, I felt for the front line staff who had to put up with passengers complaints and sour moods when it wasn’t their fault. In my opinion, it seems to me that NCL are trying to have a presence in the Far East as it looks good when advertising how far and wide their ships sail. They achieve this by having one ship doing multiple itinerary’s in far off places BUT they aren’t operating in these various regions all season so do not know the peculiarities of each port and end up in distant berths and having other problems. NCL need to decide if they want to run these routes and if so, do it properly or maybe with a senior crew who are capable of adapting to changing and varying ports/conditions as opposed to ones who are perhaps used to going through the motions in ports they visit week in, week out. For us in the future, we will have to weigh up the likelihood of a positive experience on NCL on far out routes versus an alternative cruise line with more experience in the region. It might be a better option?? Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We chose this cruise because of the dates and the itinerary. We started in Singapore which turned out to be the highlight of the trip. What an amazing city! The food options were wonderful and there was so much to see and do. Gardens ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the dates and the itinerary. We started in Singapore which turned out to be the highlight of the trip. What an amazing city! The food options were wonderful and there was so much to see and do. Gardens by the Bay and the "Night safari" at the zoo are musts. We could have easily spent more than 3 days here. There were good things about the ship other than the very nice cabin. The ship was very clean and attractive. The crew with the exception of the captain and the shore excursion people were very nice and helpful.The dining options were outstanding and the dining staff were wonderful. I am a vegetarian and never lacked for options. The restaurants with no extra charge were delightful, particularly the Tsars Palace. It was so elegant and we felt special eating there. There was also a very good library with nice seating and a good variety of books. The entertainment had something for everyone with a few outstanding performances. Mary-Jess was wonderful and the circus was spectacular. On sea days we found very little to do other than watching the amazing watermelon carving chefs. The bad: the embarkation was a very long queue which lasted almost an hour. It was the longest we have ever gone through on a cruise ship. Getting off the ship however was the fastest we have ever encountered. The shore excursions with one exception were awful and overpriced. We had been to some of the destinations before so opted for Bangkok and Pattaya on your own. We were told that we would be given a map and ideas on what we could do. On the Thailand excursion we we told "welcome to the country of "ladyboys" Our options were to accompany the "guide" to get a suit made, get a massage or buy some jewelry. Luckily, someone else on the ship had done some research and we were able to do something. On the bus to Pattaya no suggestions were offered. On another excursion there was a bus to a market where we were dropped off at a supermarket with no idea of where the market was and no one to ask. The National Ream Park by Boat was very expensive $159/per person. We were supposed to see some wildlife, etc. The boat was a rickety fishing boat in poor condition. Pulling away from the dock was a sign of things to come. The "crew" started the motor and then seemed to forget that thy had started it. We came within inches of another boat. The driver ran up to the bow and threw an anchor overboard. We were in the middle of the river and never saw any wildlife on shore or even any birds flying over us. However this can happen. What we didn't expect was for the engine to die. O.K. they tried the other engine, That would not start so we sat there waiting for a passing boat to have pity on us. Eventually, another boat stopped and towed us. We were told we were going to see a school. We were not told that the walk was 1/2 mile on a cow pie littered narrow path. It was nice to see the school and visit a resident of the village. The bus was waiting for us but it broke down and there was another wait. The Ugly: One of the stops Ko Samui required a tender. As we left the ship, my husband noticed that the ship was stirring up sand although we were a mile offshore. We visited a local site, had a meal and went to the pier waiting to be picked up. There was already a long queue which just got longer until there were many hundreds of people in line. Suddenly, someone from Norwegian announced that we had to go to another pier. Everyone left with the result that the people in front were now in back. At the new site, hundreds more joined us and then it was announced that due to the low tide the tenders couldn't carry their full capacity. We waited at least 2 hours in the hot sun with no water and some people waited longer.. At one point someone in crew uniform asked us to form a single line. Luckily no one attacked her. We spent time trying to figure out what our compensation would be. $500 off the next cruise? free drinks? When we were all finally on board the captain made a very lame half-hearted apology. Our reward - an extra hour in the another port. Bad call. We arrived an hour late in Bangkok cutting short our activities there. We will not go with Norwegian again. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
I’ve travelled a lot, but this was my first cruise. And it may well be my last. It was the worst vacation I have ever experienced. I chose this mode of travel as I am single and have a deadly allergy to all nuts and peanuts. After ... Read More
I’ve travelled a lot, but this was my first cruise. And it may well be my last. It was the worst vacation I have ever experienced. I chose this mode of travel as I am single and have a deadly allergy to all nuts and peanuts. After several emails, medical questionnaires and a phone conversation with Norwegian, I was advised that they could safely handle my special dietary needs. I was very excited, as I didn’t think I could ever visit these countries; countries rich in nut and peanut products. Well as it turned out, my allergy was just one of many issues I encountered while on the Norwegian Jewel for 2 weeks visiting Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. On a positive note, I found the ship and my cabin to be very clean and comfortable. There were plenty of staff everywhere, greeting and cleaning as they went. In fact the ratio of staff to customers was incredible at almost 3:1. However, the efficiency and productivity of the Jewel’s team was very low and their customer service was appalling. In fact, Guest Services’ attitude was…”if you don’t like it, there’s the door. Let us know when you are leaving on your way out”! That’s exactly what they told some friends I met, who had booked a room for 4 but only got beds for 3! My experience at Guest Services wasn’t any better. Even though I had a letter advising that on arrival the Executive Chef would meet with me to discuss my special dietary needs, they snarled at me with a look and tone of voice that was shocking. They told me the chefs were very busy and could not attend to any special needs. It took me hours to sort through that one, but as it turned out…I think they were right!! Eventually I was able to pre-order my meals so they could be prepared nut free, but I worried about everything I put in my mouth. I couldn’t trust them from one meal to the next, as it was clear they didn’t understand or didn’t care about cross contamination. Luckily I only had one minor incident. Besides the safety of the food for me, the overall dining experience was very poor. There was always a team of restaurant staff close by to remove your dirty glass or fork before you even put it down, but it took forever to have a request like ketchup, tea or a glass of wine fulfilled. The food started off very good, but deteriorated to very bad as the days went by. The last few days it was almost inedible. More people than not were returning their meals. It made for a very unpleasant dining experience. Customer service at the Excursions desk wasn’t any better. It didn’t matter that I’d pre-paid for one of their expensive excursions every day. They seemed to treat everybody in line terribly! The Manager was no better. At least I didn’t mind the 2-2.5 hr highway drives from the pier to the destinations (one way), as I got to see some of the countryside, but it wasn’t great travel time. In my opinion, leadership was sadly lacking on this ship. Management’s response to everything was “it’s not our fault” and as a result they took no responsibility for anything. In turn, they took little to no action in resolving anything. Communication between departments was totally absent and communication with customers wasn’t much better. Things often don’t work out in business the way we planned, but I think how you handle such incidents is critical and very telling. The team on this ship avoided and deflected issues coming at them. They simply didn’t seem to have the ability to problem solve on their feet. And that attitude and lack of training cascaded down throughout the entire organization. It was very evident on the pier at Ko Samui during our first excursion. People were passing out in the blazing sun for hours with no shade, water, proper line ups or communication, while we waited for tendering that went awry. A mob mentality almost took over as people struggled for basic survival and Sr. Officers stood by chatting and laughing amongst themselves. It was utter disorganization and disbelief for passengers, as many could be heard wondering out loud how this crew would handle a disaster at sea. It was no wonder people laughed out loud as the Captain addressed the ship’s passengers some 3-4 days later about that incident, saying that safety was his #1 priority. These are just a few examples from my trip with the Jewel. It was a stressful vacation. When I wasn’t sorting out my own issues, I was listening to others vent about their own terrible experiences on board and others who even called Head Office to no avail. I was happy to get off that boat. Read Less
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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