Norwegian Jewel Cruise Review by AusQueen
- Sail Date: March 2018
- Destination: Asia
- Cabin Type: Mini-Suite with Balcony
In 2016, we enjoyed our earlier cruise with NCL Star for 21 days in a Suite and had absolutely no issues. This is what enticed us to take another cruise with Norwegian. This cruise with Jewel was only for 11 days from March 21 to April 1, 2018. The best part of the cruise is the fact that our Mini-Suite was kept immaculately tidy by our steward. The whole ship always looked tidy. Unfortunately, the positives stop there. NCL Jewel is a highly disorganized ship and the reasons are as follows: (1) from the initial port in HK up to disembarkation. People in HK were not even properly identified as NCL staff. They were grabbing the suitcases from our hotel limo as we arrived. (2)Furthermore, NO ONE in the check in counter in HK knew what Latitudes was. Only those in the Suites were assisted even if the Latitudes program supposedly provided for assistance on embarkation for those in Gold upwards (3)Restaurant reservation made online prior to the start of the cruise did not sync with the ship's system. Hence, I just wasted all that time planning the restaurants that we wanted to dine in. (4)The worst part is the staff at Azura ( on the first night) were demanding a print out from me for the proof of my reservation. I obviously do not walk around with hard copies of the reservation when it is supposed to be in their system as per my NCL account. I did not appreciate this because there were other patrons behind and I never expected to be treated in such fashion when the meal in question is an inclusion and not even a specialty restaurant. I later found out that the whole reservation system was not working for the entire length of the cruise(5) Water purchased in advance were not delivered to our room until after 3 follow ups. We were told that it would be delivered the next day which is unacceptable as my husband and I require such for our medication. (6) Shore excursion organizers at the start were not organized with guests even requesting that a line be formed during the process. This is disappointing as the staff should have organized the whole process better. I started wondering if they had trainees organizing these excursions. Also, some guests of the boat were complaining that the ship ran out of shore excursion openings for most of the tours. It is only for 11 days – how can they get it so wrong. (7) Room service did not deliver an order for nearly 3 hours because they supposedly failed to get our room number. We could not have our breakfast at the restaurants that morning as we were dealing with a family emergency over the phones. This was the height of how dysfunctional room service was. To order for beer at around 10 pm would take at least an hour to be delivered. (8) Food in the specialty restaurants are mostly SALTY. The dishes we enjoyed at the NCL Star are also offered at the Jewel but for some reason almost everything is about 3 times saltier. This made most of our dining experiences not enjoyable. Menus in the main dining areas/complimentary do not change at all. Azura and Tsar have near similar menus ( 9) Staff in the Garden Cafe are NOT very helpful and would really rather stand around than assist guests when the place is packed during meal time. The same goes with Azura. The staff members seem to be overwhelmed during peak times. Hence, guests are left waiting to be attended to. We dined there twice and it is sad to see that the main dining area could hardly cope and not get its act together. (10) As we had to leave the ship earlier than scheduled due to a family emergency, we had to disembark by ourselves. We have paid for the cruise until 01 April but had to leave by 30 March. We were supposed to disembark at around 11 am as our flight was at 3:00 pm. By 9:30 am, housekeeping wanted to check if we were still in our rooms. Yes, the very same room that we have paid for in full till April 1 including the unlimited internet charges I have paid for UNTIL April 1. An hour later, someone in guest relations also went to our room to check if we were still around. This was weird because they all knew we were only leaving past 11 am. I could not understand why they were rushing to get us out when the ship will still be docked until 7 or 8 pm in Kobe. Later, the disembarkation officer was VERY VERY rude and even raised her voice infront of everyone when I said that all I wanted was to get out of this ship once and for all. She should not be in hospitality if that is how she treats guests. Prior to our disembarkation and after having raised some of the issues above with customer relations, the Hotel Director Steven even offered to compensate us with US$200 off our bill for all the inconveniences we encountered. We find that insulting as we did not raise our issues to get freebies. We actually look down on people who try to pull that sort of stuff. In the long run, we believe people with legitimate issues suffer when an establishment assumes that people only whinge because they want to get freebies. We declined the offer and told him to use the funds instead towards boosting staff training and morale. He also later on sent a bottle of wine and some chocolates to our Mini- Suite. We also sent that back and politely said thank you BUT no thank you to the messenger. Over-all we regret taking this cruise. It was only for 11 days but I think it stressed us out in the 9 days that we were inside that ship. We were so impressed with NCL Star that we even made 3 CruiseNext deposits in 2016. We are not regretting that decision. Since coming back to Australia, we have read some reviews other passengers have given Jewel and all I can conclude is that we are not alone with our findings. They also are the same with the sentiments of most of the people we interacted with on the boat. Most of them even swearing this would be the final time with NCL. I hope I am wrong to assume that NCL only treats guests from the Suites better than the rest. If someone in a Mini Suite this time cannot get decent satisfaction from a cruise liner then I don’t know what hope the other guests in the lower decks would feel. The ship is running very poorly because of low staff morale and inadequate training. Suffice to say, I will surely think thrice before recommending this vessel for a cruise. The Jewel is destroying the NCL brand and needs an overhaul. It has management and staff issues. We have cruised with both Princess and Celebrity on both levels, Suite and Mini Suite, and had absolutely none of these issues.
AusQueen’s Full Rating Summary
Cabin was kept tidy at all times. This is the only good thing about the cruise. The bathroom is smaller than those of Princess. The wardrobe/cabinets are hard to access as it is so close to the king sized bed.
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