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I bought this cruise for my husbands 60th birthday to do something different as he had never been to KL, Langkawi, Penang and Phuket before. Unfortunately, it didn't leave us with too many great memories. We have done many cruises and maybe we have been a bit spoilt on Princess and Celebrity, but never had we been on NCL and not sure if we will ever sail with them again. Embarkation from Singapore Marina Bay Sands Cruise Centre was easy. A little unorganised but nothing to whine about. On arrival onto the ship we went to the Tsar's, which is one of the main dining areas and very spacious. It was probably the best meal we had on board the whole time. Did a quick tour of the ship and I liked the decor and nothing felt too crowded, it was refurbished in 2018. Afternoon we had to do the normal safety briefing and then we decided to go to one of the bars and have a beer and cider. Holly molly, the cost for these 2 basic drinks was ridiculous. As everything is in US dollars, you also need to add the 20% mandatory gratuity and then for us Aussies, do the 30% difference in exchange rate, the 2 basic drinks cost us $22 AUD for basic leadin beer and cider. If you can purchase a package with drinks included, it is the way to go. Our deal was so cheap without drinks, it wasn't worth to pay the big difference in fare, but it just made it hard to justify spending so much on drink purchases. I did purchase a 4 bottle wine pack for $80 US plus grats and exchange, it was still expensive but saved us a bit on board. FYI for anyone who doesn't know, NCL will not allow you to bring anything (including water etc), onto the ship apart from wine, champagne which will incur the US15 corkage fee. Anyone wanting to purchase a drinks package onboard, US99 per person per day plus 20% gratuity plus then again convert to AUD. The most expensive drink package we have ever seen on any ship, and we have been on quite a few different ones. Dining on board: Went mostly to Tsar's main dining for lunch and dinner when we could. First day was great but from then on it was really hit and miss like the rest of the ship. Tried also the buffet, which was okay and on one night we went to Azura. We waited a long time for our meal here and also, it was very stuffy. I preferred Tsar's. In room dining, we preordered the coffee etc for the morning, otherwise any other in room dining you have to pay for. Desserts - don't know what is going on there but not one great dessert was to be had anywhere on the ship. A few other people made the same comment. Cabin Steward: He was wonderful and tried to do everything to keep us happy. First time I had ever been on a ship when the cabin steward didn't come and introduce themselves on the first day. He did manage to get us use of a coffee machine so we can boil water for the hot water bottle (bad back). That was very useful. Bed was comfortable and bathroom was larger than normal. It was always kept wonderfully clean. Staff on board: Some were fantastic and really wanted to look after you. Others, couldn't care less. Also, it seems that NCL just doesn't let them make any decisions on their own, but they have to check with a Supervisor who then has to check with someone else. Never experienced this before either. Example of the issue for us (and seen other people having issues), with the wine pack I bought, you were given 4 vouchers and a choice of 8 wines. On the vouchers they wrote what wine you may wish to have, but was advised no issue to change to one to the others in the pack if you like one more than the other. OMG. who would ever think changing from one wine to other would be an issue. I know better now. Entertainment: As most days we were off the ship, didn't experience much on board. Went to a few shows which were good. The magician was terrible. Shore excursions: Do yourself and favour and either a) organise your own private tours before you leave home or b) just go with taxis when you arrive and haggle. Shore excursions onboard where minimum double the price of what you could get on your own. Ports: Port Klang for KL. We did overnight here so the first day did a private half day tour of Port Klang area and then had the same wonderful driver to the following full day in KL. Very enjoyable and Robbie our drive was fantastic to deal with. Took us anywhere we wanted to go and was so flexible. Had some wonderful street food also. Langkawi - outside the gate there are heaps of taxi drivers waiting for you, or, you can pay the $15 US return bus ticket to be dropped off at the Aquarium which is just across the road from the main beach, heaps of restaurants and shops. Be aware the shops don't have much these days in the way of bargains or shopping. All the same and it has changed alot in the 4 years since I was there last time. Penang - as you are right in the centre of town, you can just walk around, get a taxi outside the gate and do whatever. We opted for another full day private tour as it was my husbands 60th. Had another fantastic driver that took us to many sights and places while telling alot of funny jokes on the way. It was a wonderful day out. Phuket - our tender was to Patong, and if you get up early and get one of the first few, there was no wait at all. At the jetty in Patong you will have to run the gauntlet of taxi drivers and people trying to sell you stuff. We hired a driver for 5 hours and went driving and saw a few sights. You can also just spend the day on the beach which is right beside the jetty also. Phuket is not my favourite places and would prefer to go back to Penang and go to Batu Ferringhi beach instead. (Also NCL before leaving home, we asked then 2 times where we would be docking and was told both times it was the Deep Sea Port, but onboard the advised with was always Patong. Not sure how they could get this wrong. Deep Sea Port is 45 minute drive away. Disembarkation was quick and easy and as we always try to walk off our own luggage, we could leave at any time. Be aware that the taxis from Marina Bay Sands Cruise centre charge a minimum fee of $55 during peak time. Overall we had a good time but not great. We won't rush back at all to experience NCL again. If they didn't charge so much for everything on board, got a little bit more flexible and tried to improve the food a bit more, it would be a wonderful experience.

Onboard is way over priced.

Norwegian Jewel Cruise Review by Allawah

8 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: March 2019
  • Destination: Asia
  • Cabin Type: Mid-Ship Inside
I bought this cruise for my husbands 60th birthday to do something different as he had never been to KL, Langkawi, Penang and Phuket before.

Unfortunately, it didn't leave us with too many great memories.

We have done many cruises and maybe we have been a bit spoilt on Princess and Celebrity, but never had we been on NCL and not sure if we will ever sail with them again.

Embarkation from Singapore Marina Bay Sands Cruise Centre was easy. A little unorganised but nothing to whine about.

On arrival onto the ship we went to the Tsar's, which is one of the main dining areas and very spacious. It was probably the best meal we had on board the whole time. Did a quick tour of the ship and I liked the decor and nothing felt too crowded, it was refurbished in 2018.

Afternoon we had to do the normal safety briefing and then we decided to go to one of the bars and have a beer and cider.

Holly molly, the cost for these 2 basic drinks was ridiculous. As everything is in US dollars, you also need to add the 20% mandatory gratuity and then for us Aussies, do the 30% difference in exchange rate, the 2 basic drinks cost us $22 AUD for basic leadin beer and cider.

If you can purchase a package with drinks included, it is the way to go. Our deal was so cheap without drinks, it wasn't worth to pay the big difference in fare, but it just made it hard to justify spending so much on drink purchases.

I did purchase a 4 bottle wine pack for $80 US plus grats and exchange, it was still expensive but saved us a bit on board.

FYI for anyone who doesn't know, NCL will not allow you to bring anything (including water etc), onto the ship apart from wine, champagne which will incur the US15 corkage fee.

Anyone wanting to purchase a drinks package onboard, US99 per person per day plus 20% gratuity plus then again convert to AUD. The most expensive drink package we have ever seen on any ship, and we have been on quite a few different ones.

Dining on board:

Went mostly to Tsar's main dining for lunch and dinner when we could. First day was great but from then on it was really hit and miss like the rest of the ship. Tried also the buffet, which was okay and on one night we went to Azura. We waited a long time for our meal here and also, it was very stuffy. I preferred Tsar's.

In room dining, we preordered the coffee etc for the morning, otherwise any other in room dining you have to pay for.

Desserts - don't know what is going on there but not one great dessert was to be had anywhere on the ship. A few other people made the same comment.

Cabin Steward:

He was wonderful and tried to do everything to keep us happy. First time I had ever been on a ship when the cabin steward didn't come and introduce themselves on the first day. He did manage to get us use of a coffee machine so we can boil water for the hot water bottle (bad back). That was very useful. Bed was comfortable and bathroom was larger than normal. It was always kept wonderfully clean.

Staff on board:

Some were fantastic and really wanted to look after you. Others, couldn't care less. Also, it seems that NCL just doesn't let them make any decisions on their own, but they have to check with a Supervisor who then has to check with someone else. Never experienced this before either. Example of the issue for us (and seen other people having issues), with the wine pack I bought, you were given 4 vouchers and a choice of 8 wines. On the vouchers they wrote what wine you may wish to have, but was advised no issue to change to one to the others in the pack if you like one more than the other. OMG. who would ever think changing from one wine to other would be an issue. I know better now.

Entertainment:

As most days we were off the ship, didn't experience much on board. Went to a few shows which were good. The magician was terrible.

Shore excursions: Do yourself and favour and either a) organise your own private tours before you leave home or b) just go with taxis when you arrive and haggle. Shore excursions onboard where minimum double the price of what you could get on your own.

Ports:

Port Klang for KL. We did overnight here so the first day did a private half day tour of Port Klang area and then had the same wonderful driver to the following full day in KL. Very enjoyable and Robbie our drive was fantastic to deal with. Took us anywhere we wanted to go and was so flexible. Had some wonderful street food also.

Langkawi - outside the gate there are heaps of taxi drivers waiting for you, or, you can pay the $15 US return bus ticket to be dropped off at the Aquarium which is just across the road from the main beach, heaps of restaurants and shops. Be aware the shops don't have much these days in the way of bargains or shopping. All the same and it has changed alot in the 4 years since I was there last time.

Penang - as you are right in the centre of town, you can just walk around, get a taxi outside the gate and do whatever. We opted for another full day private tour as it was my husbands 60th. Had another fantastic driver that took us to many sights and places while telling alot of funny jokes on the way. It was a wonderful day out.

Phuket - our tender was to Patong, and if you get up early and get one of the first few, there was no wait at all. At the jetty in Patong you will have to run the gauntlet of taxi drivers and people trying to sell you stuff. We hired a driver for 5 hours and went driving and saw a few sights. You can also just spend the day on the beach which is right beside the jetty also. Phuket is not my favourite places and would prefer to go back to Penang and go to Batu Ferringhi beach instead. (Also NCL before leaving home, we asked then 2 times where we would be docking and was told both times it was the Deep Sea Port, but onboard the advised with was always Patong. Not sure how they could get this wrong. Deep Sea Port is 45 minute drive away.

Disembarkation was quick and easy and as we always try to walk off our own luggage, we could leave at any time.

Be aware that the taxis from Marina Bay Sands Cruise centre charge a minimum fee of $55 during peak time.

Overall we had a good time but not great. We won't rush back at all to experience NCL again. If they didn't charge so much for everything on board, got a little bit more flexible and tried to improve the food a bit more, it would be a wonderful experience.
Allawah’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Mid-Ship Inside
Cabin IA 10069
One of the biggest inside cabins we have had. Nice and central mid ship deck 10. 2 floors up to buffet.
Deck 11 Inside Cabins, Suite Cabins