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Fresh out of dry dock and the first of the Sydney to New Zealand trips of the season, the Jewel looks great. Gone are the tacky plastic palm trees, ugly carpet, and funky colors. The ship looks modern, instead of the late 90s/early 2000s wacky theme. Embarkation was easy. Since we were coming from the US and our flight landed pretty early, we were worried the baggage collection wouldn't be up yet. However, we got there around 9am and they were collecting luggage. We dropped our bags off (note that you can't drop off anything with alcohol in it and would have to carry it around all day), and spent most of the day exploring Sydney. Don't forget the sunscreen; we got pretty burned after just a few hours. There's plenty to do, see, buy, and eat around the port. Getting to the port is an easy subway/train ride from the airport to Circular Quay station, and maybe a 1/4 mile walk to the ship. There was a lot of people boarding but it went quickly. Our room was ready around 2pm and our luggage was delivered by 4pm. We watched the ship sail out of Sydney (it's beautiful, don't miss it), ate a small early dinner at the buffet, and went to bed early, as we were exhausted from the long flight and time zone difference. After the 2 sea days, we arrived in Auckland in the midst of a huge thunderstorm. The storm cleared up however, and we explored Auckland. The rest of the ports were easy, with the exception of Akaroa which used tenders. The tenders process was a complete mess and frustrating. The early tenders were all reserved for NCL excursions. We were told to wait until we were ready to get off the ship before collecting a ticket with a group number. Once we got our ticket, it took an hour and 20 minutes before our group number was called, then another 25 minutes to get to the port. We almost missed our private shore excursion that was scheduled for noon. The Fiordland National Park was the highlight of the trip. NCL hit a home run with this one. The ship sails through 3 different bays (which are actually fiords) while the cruise director gives commentary. The best views are from the top of the ship, but they also open up the deck on the bow which has great views. Entertainment was much better than I remember from other NCL cruises. The performers were all class A quality; I expected B or C class. The shows were fantastic, especially the Cirque Bijou show. My only complaint was a complete lack of "adult" entertainment; the only thing that wasn't G-rated was a comedian the last night who threw a couple of swear words in to an otherwise normal set. Dining was also fantastic. We really enjoyed the meals in Azuras each night and the waiters were great. Halfway through the cruise there was a flu outbreak so you had to ask for everything at the buffet and the dining rooms. The staff handled it great and were very friendly. We went to Chin Chins one night and found it to be mediocre. Overall it was a great cruise. A once in a lifetime bucket list item for us, and it did not disappoint. A+ NCL!

An amazing New Zealand cruise

Norwegian Jewel Cruise Review by matt151617

4 people found this helpful
Trip Details
Fresh out of dry dock and the first of the Sydney to New Zealand trips of the season, the Jewel looks great. Gone are the tacky plastic palm trees, ugly carpet, and funky colors. The ship looks modern, instead of the late 90s/early 2000s wacky theme.

Embarkation was easy. Since we were coming from the US and our flight landed pretty early, we were worried the baggage collection wouldn't be up yet. However, we got there around 9am and they were collecting luggage. We dropped our bags off (note that you can't drop off anything with alcohol in it and would have to carry it around all day), and spent most of the day exploring Sydney. Don't forget the sunscreen; we got pretty burned after just a few hours. There's plenty to do, see, buy, and eat around the port. Getting to the port is an easy subway/train ride from the airport to Circular Quay station, and maybe a 1/4 mile walk to the ship. There was a lot of people boarding but it went quickly. Our room was ready around 2pm and our luggage was delivered by 4pm. We watched the ship sail out of Sydney (it's beautiful, don't miss it), ate a small early dinner at the buffet, and went to bed early, as we were exhausted from the long flight and time zone difference.

After the 2 sea days, we arrived in Auckland in the midst of a huge thunderstorm. The storm cleared up however, and we explored Auckland. The rest of the ports were easy, with the exception of Akaroa which used tenders. The tenders process was a complete mess and frustrating. The early tenders were all reserved for NCL excursions. We were told to wait until we were ready to get off the ship before collecting a ticket with a group number. Once we got our ticket, it took an hour and 20 minutes before our group number was called, then another 25 minutes to get to the port. We almost missed our private shore excursion that was scheduled for noon.

The Fiordland National Park was the highlight of the trip. NCL hit a home run with this one. The ship sails through 3 different bays (which are actually fiords) while the cruise director gives commentary. The best views are from the top of the ship, but they also open up the deck on the bow which has great views.

Entertainment was much better than I remember from other NCL cruises. The performers were all class A quality; I expected B or C class. The shows were fantastic, especially the Cirque Bijou show. My only complaint was a complete lack of "adult" entertainment; the only thing that wasn't G-rated was a comedian the last night who threw a couple of swear words in to an otherwise normal set.

Dining was also fantastic. We really enjoyed the meals in Azuras each night and the waiters were great. Halfway through the cruise there was a flu outbreak so you had to ask for everything at the buffet and the dining rooms. The staff handled it great and were very friendly. We went to Chin Chins one night and found it to be mediocre.

Overall it was a great cruise. A once in a lifetime bucket list item for us, and it did not disappoint. A+ NCL!
matt151617’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Service
Onboard Experience

Cabin Review

Mid-Ship Mini-Suite with Balcony
Cabin MA 11548
The cabin is also freshly redone, and has a new TV, carpet, and USB ports next to the bed. The bathroom is the same old green plastic tile and looks dated. The shower would not maintain a good temperature and fluctuated between hot and cold constantly. The balcony was nice, and has a large overhang from the deck above which can block your view, but also prevents rain and surf from coming on to the balcony which is nice.
Deck 11 Inside Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews