I chose this cruise for my DH & I as we only had a brief period of time off work and I had a fantastic cruise on the NCL Jewel in Jan 18 to NZ.
Boarding was relatively quick & easy. We took our own wine on board as our fare didn't include the drinks package. We paid USD$15 per bottle corkage. We had planned to go to O’Sheehans for lunch but were told by a staff member that it was closed. We went to the Garden Cafe for lunch instead(which was packed). I was surprised to find staff serving all the food & drinks. Apparently they had experienced a Gastro outbreak on the previous sailing. We found out after we had eaten lunch that O’Sheehans was open for lunch.
We couldn’t access our room until around 3pm. The fridge was locked so my DH rang reception asking for it to be unlocked as he had medication he needed to refrigerate. Two hours later he rang again asking once again for the fridge to be unlocked. My bag was delivered in a timely manner but my DH’s bag was missing. He eventually found it outside another stateroom several hours later.
Day time - I participated in Elevator Roulette and watched Mama Mia Here we go Again in the Stardust Theatre. Most of my time was spent editing photos on my computer from a previous holiday.
Night time - We went to Spinnakers to listen to the Stardust Band play Glenn Miller & Big Band Era (which was brilliant), watched Battle of the Sexes, listened to Prism play (not as good as Hotwire from the last cruise who were exceptional) and danced to the DJ(also not as good as the previous cruise). We only went to one show in the Stardust Theatre Rock you Tonight. It had a lot of energy but it wasn’t quite what I was expecting from the promo information.
We ate breakfast in the Garden Cafe all but two mornings. There was plenty of variety and I never went hungry. We had one breakfast in O’Sheehans and one in Tsars, service was fairly slow in both and I preferred the quality of the omelette in the Garden Cafe to either of these venues.
We ate most of our evening meals in Azura. Service was a bit hit & miss but the food was all great and no problems with the temperature of the food.
It wasn’t until our last at sea day we were able to serve ourselves in the Garden Cafe. My DH felt they didn’t care if we became sick at this point rather than the Gastro was contained and they had followed all the containment regulations.
Hobart(8-1:30) -insufficient time to do anything other than walk to the Salamanca Markets which were packed. A great variety of nick knacks to buy and lots of food available.
Burnie(9-8:30) -We were taken by bus to the Visitor Information centre. We had organised a hire car which we had to pick up from Wynyard Airport(a 20mins taxi ride north. We shared a taxi ($50) with a couple from Cruise Critic. It was after 10:30 before we had our car keys. The weather was dreadful but we drove the 1 1/2hrs to Cradle Mountain with our fingers crossed. DH checked the weather report when we arrived to see the rain disappearing so we had lunch. We paid the $16pp entry which also entitled us to a bus into the park. The views were spectacular. The only thing I would of done differently was I would have driven into the park as we were time poor. There were lots of wombats wandering around at Ronny Creek.
Melbourne(9-9:30) -access to the city centre was by taxi or purchasing a MYKI card($15) which entitled us to all day transport. We wandered around the Botanic Gardens & visited the Shrine of Remembrance. We had originally planned to have the Hi Tea for lunch at The Terrace Cafe in the Gardens. Unfortunately this had to be booked in advance. We checked out the Gingerbread display in Federation Square before heading back to the ship.
General -Our itinerary was changed after final payment to less time in Hobart and more time in Burnie. This change didn't bother me but many people were not happy with the change.
I only found out on our last sea day you can access the NCL website on your device or use their computers for free to check out potential other NCL cruise destinations. I will definitely use this on future cruises as I love their itineraries more than most other lines.
I checked our account on the NCL app to find we were charged GST on our wine and gratuities. There was a note on the daily to indicate it was a charge imposed by the Australian Govt on domestic cruises. I think in future we will pay the gratuities in advance as it left a sour taste in our mouths.
Disembarkation - was quick & easy. Unfortunately one of our bags was damaged at some point.
I would definitely sail with NCL again keeping in mind the things I didn’t enjoy as much 2nd time round was probably due to expectations I had of things being the same as my previous cruise and the destination.
Reasonable location as we spent most of our time in the front of the ship. No outside noise
Short stop. Visited the Salamanca markets
The purpose of the cruise was to visit Cradle Mountain
Just wandered around
A great port to cruise out of, even on an overcast day.