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Norwegian Jewel Cruise Review
4.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
2,389 Reviews

Great ports, disappointing ship

Norwegian Jewel Cruise Review by verne1956

14 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Oct 2017
  • Destination: Asia
  • Cabin Type: Mid-Ship Inside

As the title suggests we were not overly impressed by the ship as far as first impressions goes it was a fail for Norwegian. The ship looked very nice at the docks we viewed it the night before boarding but alas that was to our only good impression. The boarding experience was abysmal we lined up for and hour and a half in hot conditions imaging that it must be slow as they were checking people in but no that was just getting them on after finally making it on board we were told to climb two flights of stairs to finally do check-in. Disembarkation went a bit better at least we were never in weather conditions. I'm afraid my review is not going to be positive but here goes anyhow.

The first onboard shock came with the size of the cabin the smallest I have ever been in the design was user unfriendly the cabin was supposed to be suitable for 4 fat chance. The upper bunk slid down from the side wall it protruded out making it a hazard getting in and out of bed the other side had a useless table almost against the bottom of the bed meaning you had to crawl in and out of bed. We met another couple experiencing the same difficulties who suggested we make it into twins (so romantic NOT) it made it a lot more workable but this was a special holiday we would have liked to share the same bed. The bathroom although compact did have a proper shower screen a first for us and much appreciated. BTW never did figure out where the fourth bunk would have gone if the were 4.

Thinking it must be going to get better we headed to O'Sheehans for our first drink with a view only to be scolded by the waiter for sitting down without asking and going to the bar ourselves it took some days to return. This bar although situated in a good position seemed unable to handle crowds their service lacked each time we did return. On a positive note about O'Sheehans for those who wish to send a picture and short message home who do not have WiFi you can send from a machine just outside the bar on a daily basis. Other free food outlets were good enough if a bit repetitive the buffet sometimes suffered what many buffets suffer and that is not overly hot food. The main dining was usually pleasant if a little noisy I think maybe the ceilings are a little low. No one could have left the ship starving the washy washy girls were just delightful they made our days.

The ship itself is well in need of its upcoming refurb old carpets seating and the Italian restaurant is so old hat its just not funny. I was told by other passengers that other ships are a lot nicer so I would recommend using one of them until after the refit. The outside deck space was very exposed during sunny weather some umbrellas would help greatly as shady spots were near impossible especially with the usual deck chair hogs who appear to rise before 5am. I was thinking post cruise some of the staff may be very tired and stressed as service was lacking in many area. We did find some staff very pleasant and friendly and interested to have conversation we enjoy talking to staff to find out about their home countries and to show interest in them personally.

The entertainment was a bit of a fizzer the house bands were mostly boring except Temperature. The best attribute they had was the dance troupe Burn the Floor they were fabulous but were under utilized over the 18 nights they could have done double the shows. If that had happened I would have overlooked other disappointments they were so exciting highly talented and together with the acrobats just amazing. Black Tie were also very talented and we enjoyed both shows they made a change of pace and not the usual package comedy classical music and opera. I am not into magicians illusionist mediocre comedians or cover bands/artists and that made up the rest. As this cruise was on its way to Australia it would also have been helpful to have one chanel on the TV that had Australian news so damned sick of the Trump show and a better selection of movies then repeating the same over and over.

The reason for our selecting this cruise was the ports and we were not let down. We began our holiday in Moorea several nights pre cruise loved it. Our first cruise port Raitea was lovely although we went of a private excursion to Tahaa to do ray and shark as well as drift snorkeling. Our second the much anticipated Bora Bora it lived up to all the hype same kind of excursion but added a coral garden and 2 to 3 mt lemon shark experience. Next American Samoa should have explored further but was not well that day I think it could have been interesting on the places further from the port. Unfortunately the choices in Fiji not the best but we still did go to and outer island from Lautoka but just looked around Suva on our own. Vila is always nice great duty free we spent the day on Erakor island just snorkeling and sunning hardly and guest so very relaxing. Noumea turned out to be a surprise went to Duck island first impression not great but once we found the snorkeling chanel it was supurb fabulous variety of fish and quality coral. Last of all and all time favorite Ilse of Pines such a sweet place even with all the ship on shore it still never gets overcrowded as there is both beach and lagoon.

I can truly say I wish I could have loved the ship but just couldn't have never been able to find anything to compare with the smaller RC Radiance of the Sea design food and entertainment.

verne1956's Full Rating Summary
Onboard Experience
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Cabin Review

Mid-Ship Inside
Cabin IB 9609

Very small room could not recommend inside cabin on this ship if no other choice do not leave as double make twins for your comfort

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

Bora Bora

Again snorkeled with sharks rays but this time also went further out the lagoon to swim with large lemon sharks. Visited a beautiful coral garden plenty of fish good live coral

Pago Pago

Wasn't feeling well so just took a very small tour in an open local mini bus saw a small part of island good value for just $10


This one was disappointing the operator was very nice but the island he took us to was not so great Mana island to far from port. Unfortunately the tide was low I did go out to a drop off where is was OK but visibility was not great bit spoiled by previous trips. The sandbar was nicer did see a shark in a cave not a huge amount of fish.


Didn't like the port however it has come on with new shopping but not a port I would return to however others said they did go country and enjoyed it.

Port Vila

I did my own thing here and visited Erakor Island resort quiet and very pretty laggon has fabulous starfish some fish not great coral. However we very much enjoyed a quiet day away from crowds the cost of boat across is recoverable in food drink or kayak hire.This port offers great duty free prices on alcohol.


On arrival at Duck island was shocked by appearance quite barren and a must to hire very expensive deck chairs and umbrella. Initial entry into water thought where the hell have we come but then discovered the snorkel pathway marked by buoys fabulous snorkeling fish life great coral great turned out to be a fab day after all.

Isle of Pines (New Caledonia)

Always have a great day here so pretty pleasant surroundings and great swimming. There is only a small area to snorkel but still offers small fish and live coral. Snorkeled all around giant rock in lagoon won't do it again just sandy bottom after coral garden.One day must go to other side of island just never have seen the point when its so pretty near the tender.

Sydney (Australia)

My home port love this city and if ship comes into International terminal then you have it made it all there on your footstep.

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