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We chose this cruise because we wanted to try a new cruise line after a couple of less-than-impressive experiences with our long-time favorites, Princess. We had heard good things about NCL, so it seemed a good option to explore when I received a really good promotional offer. The deal turned out even better than I expected, because it included two premium drinks packages, which saved us a fortune! We're not big drinkers so these packages don't usually make financial sense for us to buy but with the cost of drinks on the ship I was glad I didn't have to pay. As an example, an Irish coffee cost $9.95US + gratuity so about $14AUD. These mandatory gratuities really annoy me. If I receive excellent service I will reward it. But fixed fees are just a way of subsidizing cheapskate employers :-( The spa services were over-priced as usual, and the girls were (also as usual) more focused on selling me stuff I didn't want rather than concentrating on providing good service. There was one very unpleasant experience where a group of us - including a significant number of elderly and disabled people - were taken from the comfort of the theater where we were waiting to board a tender to take us on a shore excursion, and left standing in the bowels of the ship for over 30 minutes. No need for that at all. Now that those complaints are out of the way, let me tell you - this was a FANTASTIC cruise! We had a wheelchair accessible mini-suite which was just amazing and provided all the facilities we needed. The cabin steward was almost psychic in knowing what we might want and providing it in advance. The food was wonderful wherever we ate, and there were lots of free alternatives to the buffet-style meals in the Garden Cafe. The specialty restaurants were good, but I didn't feel I really needed to pay extra to eat there because the free food was excellent in terms of variety and quality. Entertainment was good, although we were disappointed not to see the Cirque show because of technical issues. The ship was large enough to be interesting and have great facilities without having so many passengers that there were logistical difficulties. Would I recommend NCL to others? That's a definite YES.

So good - but expensive on board

Norwegian Jewel Cruise Review by dartmum

5 people found this helpful
Trip Details
We chose this cruise because we wanted to try a new cruise line after a couple of less-than-impressive experiences with our long-time favorites, Princess. We had heard good things about NCL, so it seemed a good option to explore when I received a really good promotional offer. The deal turned out even better than I expected, because it included two premium drinks packages, which saved us a fortune! We're not big drinkers so these packages don't usually make financial sense for us to buy but with the cost of drinks on the ship I was glad I didn't have to pay. As an example, an Irish coffee cost $9.95US + gratuity so about $14AUD. These mandatory gratuities really annoy me. If I receive excellent service I will reward it. But fixed fees are just a way of subsidizing cheapskate employers :-( The spa services were over-priced as usual, and the girls were (also as usual) more focused on selling me stuff I didn't want rather than concentrating on providing good service. There was one very unpleasant experience where a group of us - including a significant number of elderly and disabled people - were taken from the comfort of the theater where we were waiting to board a tender to take us on a shore excursion, and left standing in the bowels of the ship for over 30 minutes. No need for that at all.

Now that those complaints are out of the way, let me tell you - this was a FANTASTIC cruise! We had a wheelchair accessible mini-suite which was just amazing and provided all the facilities we needed. The cabin steward was almost psychic in knowing what we might want and providing it in advance. The food was wonderful wherever we ate, and there were lots of free alternatives to the buffet-style meals in the Garden Cafe. The specialty restaurants were good, but I didn't feel I really needed to pay extra to eat there because the free food was excellent in terms of variety and quality. Entertainment was good, although we were disappointed not to see the Cirque show because of technical issues. The ship was large enough to be interesting and have great facilities without having so many passengers that there were logistical difficulties. Would I recommend NCL to others? That's a definite YES.
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Cabin Review

Aft-Facing Mini-Suite with Balcony
Cabin M1 11654
Without exaggerating, I cried with joy when I first opened the cabin door. Such a spacious room (wheelchair accessible) with a ramp to the balcony for easy access. The balcony floor was covered with textured metal, so no danger of slipping. Plenty of room for two chairs, two small tables, and a wheely walker. The bathroom was a large wet room with walk/roll-in shower. Nice bathroom products, but we were a little disappointed they weren't replaced when used up (although we didn't ask for any new ones). The cabin was underneath the outdoor cafe on the 12th deck, so a little noisy when people were setting up tables and moving chairs - but not a deal-breaker. Being over the wake gave us sound effects like being near a waterfall - great white noise for sleeping too. Heaps of storage. Beds were comfortable, although the springs in the base of mine were a bit squeaky and noisy at times. Wonderful aircon. Being at the back of the ship meant we didn't get much in the way of passing traffic outside the cabin, so things stayed pretty quiet.
Deck 11 Inside Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • City Tour
    This was billed as a panoramic tour. I understood this to mean that at some point we would get views over Cairns, but that wasn't the case. Our very nice bus driver talked while he drove (I don't like that: NOT safe) and pointed out things like the council depot, the swimming pool wall, various hotels etc but in a random, haphazard way rather than as a compelling narrative. We had a quick stop at a beach but it wasn't even long enough to get a coffee and go to the bathroom. The visit to the botanical gardens was sad as there were no resources (brochures, signs, or people) to explain what we were seeing. Nor did we get chance to stop off in town, although this was not the tour operator's fault as the ship had problems getting tenders in and out on time. Not really worth the money.
    View All 5 City Tour Reviews