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Being from North American, we traveled about 10,000 miles to be on the NCL Jewel cruise. The cruise started in Sydney and when as far as Adelaide and returned to Sydney. The most important part of this cruise was to experience great shore excursions. If food, entertainment, sun or drink were of prime importance, we would have taken a Caribbean cruise which involves much less travel to get to the embarkation location. All of the excursions were way over priced. As experienced cruisers we expect some cruise line "mark up"; but, NCL Jewel took marking up to an extreme, I estimate 50% more than order cruise lines. The majority of the excursions offered little content or were very hurried or were truncated because the cruise ship appeared to be late getting into port. The weather was not bad and with built-in sea days we saw no reason for a tardy ship. Some of the excursions were down right unsafe particularly because the buses/vans either had no head rests or seat belts, or did not have either. So if excursions are your things during cruises I recommend not going on an Australian on the NCL Jewel particularly for people traveling from North America or Europe. You simply travel too far (and at a significant cost) to see so little. Below are the particulars of our shore excursions: Melbourne: We did not take an NCL excursion in Melbourne. The excursions offered by NCL were way overpriced. We experienced comparable content on our own, “freestyling”. Adelaide: We took the “Historic Hahndorf” excursion. The captain arrived in port at least an hour late. In my view there was no reason to arrive late as we had a day at sea between Melbourne and Adelaide. The seas were not particularly rough. The captain should have planned better and coordinated better with the excursion manager and excursion providers – poor process!! As a result of the late arrival and later day commitments by our excursion driver, we only had 75 minutes to walk Hahndorf instead of 2 hours. That difference was a really big deal as we basically had to run down the roads of Hahndorf and did not even have time for lunch. I mentioned this issue to the excursion manager; he was not even ware of the shortened stay in Hahndorf. Also, the excursion guide for the Hahndorf excursion spoke in broken English, difficult to understand. Also, Adelaide appeared to be an interesting city. Why not give us 2 days in Adelaide and skip Kangaroo Island. Kangaroo Island: We took the “Seal Bay Discovery” excursion. What a bust. First we were loaded onto a very small bus with no head rests. The driver drove like a maniac, 80 MPH (not 80 KPH). Slowed down just a little on unpaved roads. Seal Bay offered very little to see. The visit to the eucalyptus distillery was little more than a glorified gift shop. The visit to the honey farm was omitted for an undisclosed reason. The excursion was an utter waste. Skip Kangaroo Island and spend an extra day in Adelaide. Hobart Tasmania: We took the “History, Heritage and Wildlife” excursion. A decent excursion, the only unhurried excursion with good Content. We fed Kangaroos, what a "rush" Burnie Tasmania: We took the “Gunns Plains Caves & Wildlife” excursion. This excursion could have been a great excursion if we have had 1.5 hours more time. We basically had to run through the “Wings and Wildlife Park”. This park was the only place where you can get a good look at the Tasmanian Devils and Wombats. And, get “up close” to a Koala. Our tour of the Gunns Plain Cave was cut short. Eden Australia: We took the “Sapphire Coast and Scenic Villages” excursion. Eden is a complete “dive” except for a tiny whale museum. We switched buses twice (three different buses). One bus was a school bus with no seat belts or head rests. We were dumped out at Pambula Australia (near Eden) for an hour to tour and eat lunch. Pambula is a complete dump! One “greasy spoon” in the town with very questionable food and nothing interesting. Horrible excursion with almost no content other than the tiny whale museum. Why does NCL even bother stopping in Eden, a complete bust, notwithstanding the rainy weather. The actual excursion does not match the online description. And, we had a tender to Eden, what a hassle. Did I apprise NCL management of these shore excursion deficiencies, of course I did. Separately for the cruise ship: The food was mediocre and lacked variety. Dining Room service was very slow. Some of the entertainment was quite good, most of the entertainment was way too loud (even for the hard of hearing). Adult beverages were okay but really over priced even for a cruise ship, Martini tasting was good. The Casino was above average, the casino crew were reasonably competent. Guest services I have to say where under-trained and over 50% had poor English speaking skills. Rooms: passable.

Excursions offered little content and at times unsafe. Excursions were hurried

Norwegian Jewel Cruise Review by ChemE521

Trip Details
Being from North American, we traveled about 10,000 miles to be on the NCL Jewel cruise. The cruise started in Sydney and when as far as Adelaide and returned to Sydney. The most important part of this cruise was to experience great shore excursions. If food, entertainment, sun or drink were of prime importance, we would have taken a Caribbean cruise which involves much less travel to get to the embarkation location.

All of the excursions were way over priced. As experienced cruisers we expect some cruise line "mark up"; but, NCL Jewel took marking up to an extreme, I estimate 50% more than order cruise lines.

The majority of the excursions offered little content or were very hurried or were truncated because the cruise ship appeared to be late getting into port. The weather was not bad and with built-in sea days we saw no reason for a tardy ship.

Some of the excursions were down right unsafe particularly because the buses/vans either had no head rests or seat belts, or did not have either.

So if excursions are your things during cruises I recommend not going on an Australian on the NCL Jewel particularly for people traveling from North America or Europe. You simply travel too far (and at a significant cost) to see so little.

Below are the particulars of our shore excursions:

Melbourne:

We did not take an NCL excursion in Melbourne. The excursions offered by NCL were way overpriced. We experienced comparable content on our own, “freestyling”.

Adelaide:

We took the “Historic Hahndorf” excursion. The captain arrived in port at least an hour late. In my view there was no reason to arrive late as we had a day at sea between Melbourne and Adelaide. The seas were not particularly rough. The captain should have planned better and coordinated better with the excursion manager and excursion providers – poor process!! As a result of the late arrival and later day commitments by our excursion driver, we only had 75 minutes to walk Hahndorf instead of 2 hours. That difference was a really big deal as we basically had to run down the roads of Hahndorf and did not even have time for lunch. I mentioned this issue to the excursion manager; he was not even ware of the shortened stay in Hahndorf. Also, the excursion guide for the Hahndorf excursion spoke in broken English, difficult to understand.

Also, Adelaide appeared to be an interesting city. Why not give us 2 days in Adelaide and skip Kangaroo Island.

Kangaroo Island:

We took the “Seal Bay Discovery” excursion. What a bust. First we were loaded onto a very small bus with no head rests. The driver drove like a maniac, 80 MPH (not 80 KPH). Slowed down just a little on unpaved roads. Seal Bay offered very little to see. The visit to the eucalyptus distillery was little more than a glorified gift shop. The visit to the honey farm was omitted for an undisclosed reason. The excursion was an utter waste. Skip Kangaroo Island and spend an extra day in Adelaide.

Hobart Tasmania:

We took the “History, Heritage and Wildlife” excursion. A decent excursion, the only unhurried excursion with good Content. We fed Kangaroos, what a "rush"

Burnie Tasmania:

We took the “Gunns Plains Caves & Wildlife” excursion. This excursion could have been a great excursion if we have had 1.5 hours more time. We basically had to run through the “Wings and Wildlife Park”. This park was the only place where you can get a good look at the Tasmanian Devils and Wombats. And, get “up close” to a Koala. Our tour of the Gunns Plain Cave was cut short.

Eden Australia:

We took the “Sapphire Coast and Scenic Villages” excursion. Eden is a complete “dive” except for a tiny whale museum. We switched buses twice (three different buses). One bus was a school bus with no seat belts or head rests. We were dumped out at Pambula Australia (near Eden) for an hour to tour and eat lunch. Pambula is a complete dump! One “greasy spoon” in the town with very questionable food and nothing interesting. Horrible excursion with almost no content other than the tiny whale museum.

Why does NCL even bother stopping in Eden, a complete bust, notwithstanding the rainy weather. The actual excursion does not match the online description. And, we had a tender to Eden, what a hassle.

Did I apprise NCL management of these shore excursion deficiencies, of course I did.

Separately for the cruise ship:

The food was mediocre and lacked variety.

Dining Room service was very slow.

Some of the entertainment was quite good, most of the entertainment was way too loud (even for the hard of hearing).

Adult beverages were okay but really over priced even for a cruise ship, Martini tasting was good.

The Casino was above average, the casino crew were reasonably competent.

Guest services I have to say where under-trained and over 50% had poor English speaking skills.

Rooms: passable.
ChemE521’s Full Rating Summary
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