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Sydney (Pre-Cruise) We landed early in the morning and were in the arrival hall in under an hour. We collected a pocket WiFi that was reserved through Klook and purchased Opal cards from the WH Smith store for the public transportation. We looked for a Wespac Bank ATM (Bank of America’s partner), but were unable to locate one. That was an exception. Wespac branches and/or ATMs were all over Sydney and New Zealand for the duration of our trip. Per the information found on Cruise Critic, we located the Bus 400 stand easily and rode it to the Mascot Station. After dropping off luggage at the hotel, we went to Chinatown for lunch. The rest of the day was spent exploring Darling Harbour and along George Street. The Queen Victoria Building was very nice. Our timing was not too good as we missed the “I am Free Walking Tour” that had a meeting point at Town Hall. The next day, we took the train all the way to Circular Quay to visit the Opera House. The area was extremely crowded. Afterwards, we walked across the Harbour Bridge. The view from the bridge was breathtaking. While on the bridge, we saw people participating in the Harbour Bridge Climb. Luna Park is on the other side but there was nothing for us there. We took the ferry back from Milson Point. Cruise We took the train back to Circular Quay. After dropping off the pocket WiFi at the Australian Post on Pitt Street using the pre-paid envelope, I went across the street to exchange the remaining Australian dollars to New Zealand dollars at the ANZ bank. After reading quite a few negative reviews about the money exchangers, I rather pay the $8 fee to a reputable bank. In my case, the fee worked out to be about 4%. The Overseas Passenger Terminal was a short and easy walk away. We dropped our bags off at around 11:15 a.m. and were on board before noon as the entire process was smooth and efficient. This was our fifth cruise with NCL and second on the Jewel. I noticed the space of our inside stateroom was made more efficient. Unfortunately, the food is not as good as I remember. Wellington This was not on the original itinerary. The inclement weather at the Fjords forced the change. So Wellington replaced Port Chalmers/Dunedin. The ship docked around 6 p.m. on the third night. We rode the free shuttle bus into town. But most of the stores and attractions were closed. The next morning, we hiked up to Mount Victoria from the second shuttle stop. We also visited the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa and walked along the waterfront. From the waterfront, we walked along Lambton Quay to do some shopping. We ended up at the Beehive where the first shuttle stop was. Akaroa This is a tender port. We picked up our tender tickets out by the pool right before heading into the buffet for breakfast. The timing was perfect as our number was called just as we finished eating. Cruisers who have booked an excursion through NCL or were at Gold Level or above did not need tender tickets. Even though the tender boat ride was under 20 minutes, the total time from when our number was called to when we set foot on Akaroa spanned about 45 minutes. Take that into consideration if you make an independent excursion arrangement. By the way, there were many vendors offering tours at the pier. They were very casual (unlike the in-your-face pestering we have encountered at numerous other ports). We opted to do things on our own again and walked to Newton’s Waterfall first. The distance was under 2 miles but all uphill. Note that you will have to go pass two fences. The first can be opened but the second had to be stepped over. The waterfall was just a small one. There are other walks to take. I saw a sign in town encouraging visitors to access www.bpwalk.co.nz. After coming back down, we paid a short visit to the lighthouse. For lunch, we had meat pies and baguette from Akaroa Butchery and Deli per the recommendation of the Cruise Critic community. The crusts were super flaky. The beef pie was very good. The lamb pie could use some more seasoning. Nonetheless, these were the best meat pies we had on the whole trip. We spent the rest of the afternoon shopping. The artisan markets had much to offer. By the way, we saw a sign for a laundromat at the corner of Rue Lavaud and Rue Brittan in case you need it. Picton This is another small port town. Most of the excursions involve wine tasting that did not suit us. We rode the complimentary shuttle bus into town and embarked on yet another hike. Since the All Aboard time was early, 3:30 p.m., we chose a short Bay/Harbour View hike. Along the way we encountered quite a few New Zealanders heading to Bob’s Bay. The harbour view from the top is as nice as expected. Note, there are also laundromats near the shuttle stop. Napier We did not get off the ship until almost 10 a.m. to take the complimentary shuttle into town. With an all aboard time being 3:30 p.m. again, we stayed around the first stop and got nice pictures at Hawke’s Bay and the Sunken Garden. We also visited the museum (free entry and free WiFi). The rest of the time was spent shopping and eating. The pies (steak, butter chicken and apple & custard) at Jesters were pretty good. The crust was not as flaky as I like. Tauranga We booked a custom tour with Scott Tours to visit Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland and Te Puia geyser. The ship docked after 9 a.m. and was cleared by 9:30. We managed to be on the wharf by 9:45. Our tour guide/driver Geoff was waiting for us. We had an excellent day! The first stop was actually at a boiling mud pool. Then on to Wai-O-Tapu where we spent 2 hours. The Champagne Pool was as advertised. After lunch, we went to Te Puia. We had a chance to visit a Kiwi bird sanctuary and a woodcarving workshop before the eruption. It was certainly worth the wait. On the way back, we stopped for hoki poki ice-cream as well as at a kiwi farm. All in all, it was the best day of the cruise. Bay of Islands This is another tender port. The same strategy of picking up tender tickets as we headed for breakfast worked out again. Our number was called just as we finished eating. We booked a tour with Bay of Islands Shuttles & Shore Trips to visit the Kawiti Glow Worm Caves and Opua Kauri Forest Walk. The tour was scheduled to depart at 9:30 a.m. We were on the wharf by 8:45. Two people in our group did not get to the wharf on time. The tour operator, Ken, waited as long as he could. I missed the official introduction, but the forest walk must have been led by a naturalist. She was very knowledgeable. When we got to the glow worm caves, a local Maori guide led that walk. Before dropping us off in town, Paihia, we stopped at the Hundertwasser Toilets. Ken treated us to donuts (they are more like cream puffs). Auckland (Post-Cruise) We made a reservation with Kiwi Day Trips to visit the Cathedral Cove and Hot Water Beach. We had a fantastic day. The 11-hour trip was highly organized. On another day, we took the ferry to visit Rangitoto Island and hiked to the summit. Unfortunately, the track to the lava caves was closed. On the way back, we stopped off at Devonport. We picked up chocolates to take home at Devonport Chocolates. We also purchased a combination ticket for the ferry to Waiheke Island with hop-on hop-off bus tickets. Since we are not wine drinkers, we did not find the visit appealing. We did stop off at Rangihoua Estates and picked up olive oil and chutney. In between, we managed to find time shopping around the CBD and even the Westfield Newmarket mall.

Just Average Overall

Norwegian Jewel Cruise Review by qqq266

1 person found this helpful
Trip Details
Sydney (Pre-Cruise)

We landed early in the morning and were in the arrival hall in under an hour. We collected a pocket WiFi that was reserved through Klook and purchased Opal cards from the WH Smith store for the public transportation. We looked for a Wespac Bank ATM (Bank of America’s partner), but were unable to locate one. That was an exception. Wespac branches and/or ATMs were all over Sydney and New Zealand for the duration of our trip. Per the information found on Cruise Critic, we located the Bus 400 stand easily and rode it to the Mascot Station.

After dropping off luggage at the hotel, we went to Chinatown for lunch. The rest of the day was spent exploring Darling Harbour and along George Street. The Queen Victoria Building was very nice. Our timing was not too good as we missed the “I am Free Walking Tour” that had a meeting point at Town Hall.

The next day, we took the train all the way to Circular Quay to visit the Opera House. The area was extremely crowded. Afterwards, we walked across the Harbour Bridge. The view from the bridge was breathtaking. While on the bridge, we saw people participating in the Harbour Bridge Climb. Luna Park is on the other side but there was nothing for us there. We took the ferry back from Milson Point.

Cruise

We took the train back to Circular Quay. After dropping off the pocket WiFi at the Australian Post on Pitt Street using the pre-paid envelope, I went across the street to exchange the remaining Australian dollars to New Zealand dollars at the ANZ bank. After reading quite a few negative reviews about the money exchangers, I rather pay the $8 fee to a reputable bank. In my case, the fee worked out to be about 4%.

The Overseas Passenger Terminal was a short and easy walk away. We dropped our bags off at around 11:15 a.m. and were on board before noon as the entire process was smooth and efficient.

This was our fifth cruise with NCL and second on the Jewel. I noticed the space of our inside stateroom was made more efficient. Unfortunately, the food is not as good as I remember.

Wellington

This was not on the original itinerary. The inclement weather at the Fjords forced the change. So Wellington replaced Port Chalmers/Dunedin. The ship docked around 6 p.m. on the third night. We rode the free shuttle bus into town. But most of the stores and attractions were closed.

The next morning, we hiked up to Mount Victoria from the second shuttle stop. We also visited the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa and walked along the waterfront. From the waterfront, we walked along Lambton Quay to do some shopping. We ended up at the Beehive where the first shuttle stop was.

Akaroa

This is a tender port. We picked up our tender tickets out by the pool right before heading into the buffet for breakfast. The timing was perfect as our number was called just as we finished eating. Cruisers who have booked an excursion through NCL or were at Gold Level or above did not need tender tickets.

Even though the tender boat ride was under 20 minutes, the total time from when our number was called to when we set foot on Akaroa spanned about 45 minutes. Take that into consideration if you make an independent excursion arrangement. By the way, there were many vendors offering tours at the pier. They were very casual (unlike the in-your-face pestering we have encountered at numerous other ports).

We opted to do things on our own again and walked to Newton’s Waterfall first. The distance was under 2 miles but all uphill. Note that you will have to go pass two fences. The first can be opened but the second had to be stepped over. The waterfall was just a small one. There are other walks to take. I saw a sign in town encouraging visitors to access www.bpwalk.co.nz. After coming back down, we paid a short visit to the lighthouse.

For lunch, we had meat pies and baguette from Akaroa Butchery and Deli per the recommendation of the Cruise Critic community. The crusts were super flaky. The beef pie was very good. The lamb pie could use some more seasoning. Nonetheless, these were the best meat pies we had on the whole trip. We spent the rest of the afternoon shopping. The artisan markets had much to offer.

By the way, we saw a sign for a laundromat at the corner of Rue Lavaud and Rue Brittan in case you need it.

Picton

This is another small port town. Most of the excursions involve wine tasting that did not suit us. We rode the complimentary shuttle bus into town and embarked on yet another hike. Since the All Aboard time was early, 3:30 p.m., we chose a short Bay/Harbour View hike. Along the way we encountered quite a few New Zealanders heading to Bob’s Bay. The harbour view from the top is as nice as expected.

Note, there are also laundromats near the shuttle stop.

Napier

We did not get off the ship until almost 10 a.m. to take the complimentary shuttle into town. With an all aboard time being 3:30 p.m. again, we stayed around the first stop and got nice pictures at Hawke’s Bay and the Sunken Garden. We also visited the museum (free entry and free WiFi). The rest of the time was spent shopping and eating. The pies (steak, butter chicken and apple & custard) at Jesters were pretty good. The crust was not as flaky as I like.

Tauranga

We booked a custom tour with Scott Tours to visit Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland and Te Puia geyser. The ship docked after 9 a.m. and was cleared by 9:30. We managed to be on the wharf by 9:45. Our tour guide/driver Geoff was waiting for us. We had an excellent day! The first stop was actually at a boiling mud pool. Then on to Wai-O-Tapu where we spent 2 hours. The Champagne Pool was as advertised.

After lunch, we went to Te Puia. We had a chance to visit a Kiwi bird sanctuary and a woodcarving workshop before the eruption. It was certainly worth the wait. On the way back, we stopped for hoki poki ice-cream as well as at a kiwi farm. All in all, it was the best day of the cruise.

Bay of Islands

This is another tender port. The same strategy of picking up tender tickets as we headed for breakfast worked out again. Our number was called just as we finished eating. We booked a tour with Bay of Islands Shuttles & Shore Trips to visit the Kawiti Glow Worm Caves and Opua Kauri Forest Walk. The tour was scheduled to depart at 9:30 a.m. We were on the wharf by 8:45. Two people in our group did not get to the wharf on time. The tour operator, Ken, waited as long as he could.

I missed the official introduction, but the forest walk must have been led by a naturalist. She was very knowledgeable. When we got to the glow worm caves, a local Maori guide led that walk. Before dropping us off in town, Paihia, we stopped at the Hundertwasser Toilets. Ken treated us to donuts (they are more like cream puffs).

Auckland (Post-Cruise)

We made a reservation with Kiwi Day Trips to visit the Cathedral Cove and Hot Water Beach. We had a fantastic day. The 11-hour trip was highly organized.

On another day, we took the ferry to visit Rangitoto Island and hiked to the summit. Unfortunately, the track to the lava caves was closed. On the way back, we stopped off at Devonport. We picked up chocolates to take home at Devonport Chocolates.

We also purchased a combination ticket for the ferry to Waiheke Island with hop-on hop-off bus tickets. Since we are not wine drinkers, we did not find the visit appealing. We did stop off at Rangihoua Estates and picked up olive oil and chutney.

In between, we managed to find time shopping around the CBD and even the Westfield Newmarket mall.
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Cabin Review

Mid-Ship Inside
Cabin IA
We typically stay at Mid-Ship Inside cabins. The use of space has been made more efficient since the last time we were on the Jewel.
Deck 11 Inside Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Akaroa
    This was a tender port. We picked up our tender tickets out by the pool right before heading into the buffet for breakfast. The timing was perfect as our number was called just as we finished eating. Cruisers who have booked an excursion through NCL or were at Gold Level or above did not need tender tickets.
    Even though the tender boat ride was under 20 minutes, the total time from when our number was called to when we set foot on Akaroa spanned about 45 minutes. Take that into consideration if you make an independent excursion arrangement. By the way, there were many vendors offering tours at the pier. They were very casual (unlike the in-your-face pestering we have encountered at numerous other ports).
    We opted to do things on our own again and walked to Newton’s Waterfall first. The distance was under 2 miles but all uphill. Note that you will have to go pass two fences. The first can be opened but the second had to be stepped over. The waterfall was just a small one. There are other walks to take. I saw a sign in town encouraging visitors to access www.bpwalk.co.nz. After coming back down, we paid a short visit to the lighthouse.
    For lunch, we had meat pies and baguette from Akaroa Butchery and Deli per the recommendation of the Cruise Critic community. The crusts were super flaky. The beef pie was very good. The lamb pie could use some more seasoning. Nonetheless, these were the best meat pies we had on the whole trip. We spent the rest of the afternoon shopping. The artisan markets had much to offer.
    By the way, we saw a sign for a laundromat at the corner of Rue Lavaud and Rue Brittan in case you need it.
    View All 184 Akaroa Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Akaroa Cruise Port Review
  • Auckland
    Post-Cruise
    We made a reservation with Kiwi Day Trips to visit the Cathedral Cove and Hot Water Beach. We had a fantastic day. The 11-hour trip was highly organized.
    On another day, we took the ferry to visit Rangitoto Island and hiked to the summit. Unfortunately, the track to the lava caves was closed. On the way back, we stopped off at Devonport. We picked up chocolates to take home at Devonport Chocolates.
    We also purchased a combination ticket for the ferry to Waiheke Island with hop-on hop-off bus tickets. Since we are not wine drinkers, we did not find the visit appealing. We did stop off at Rangihoua Estates and picked up olive oil and chutney.
    In between, we managed to find time shopping around the CBD and even the Westfield Newmarket mall.
    View All 384 Auckland Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Auckland Cruise Port Review
  • Kawiti Glow-worm Caves
    This is another tender port. The same strategy of picking up tender tickets as we headed for breakfast worked out again. Our number was called just as we finished eating. We booked a tour with Bay of Islands Shuttles & Shore Trips to visit the Kawiti Glow Worm Caves and Opua Kauri Forest Walk. The tour was scheduled to depart at 9:30 a.m. We were on the wharf by 8:45. Two people in our group did not get to the wharf on time. The tour operator, Ken, waited as long as he could.
    I missed the official introduction, but the forest walk must have been led by a naturalist. She was very knowledgeable. When we got to the glow worm caves, a local Maori guide led that walk. Before dropping us off in town, Paihia, we stopped at the Hundertwasser Toilets. Ken treated us to donuts (they are more like cream puffs).
    View All 10 Kawiti Glow-worm Caves Reviews
  • Napier
    We did not get off the ship until almost 10 a.m. to take the complimentary shuttle into town. With an all aboard time being 3:30 p.m. again, we stayed around the first stop and got nice pictures at Hawke’s Bay and the Sunken Garden. We also visited the museum (free entry and free WiFi). The rest of the time was spent shopping and eating. The pies (steak, butter chicken and apple & custard) at Jesters were pretty good. The crust was not as flaky as I like.
    View All 156 Napier Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Napier Cruise Port Review
  • Picton
    This is another small port town. Most of the excursions involve wine tasting that did not suit us. We rode the complimentary shuttle bus into town and embarked on yet another hike. Since the All Aboard time was early, 3:30 p.m., we chose a short Bay/Harbour View hike. Along the way we encountered quite a few New Zealanders heading to Bob’s Bay. The harbour view from the top is as nice as expected.
    Note, there are also laundromats near the shuttle stop.
    View All 148 Picton Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Picton Cruise Port Review
  • Sydney (Australia)
    We landed early in the morning and were in the arrival hall in under an hour. We collected a pocket WiFi that was reserved through Klook and purchased Opal cards from the WH Smith store for the public transportation. We looked for a Wespac Bank ATM (Bank of America’s partner), but were unable to locate one. That was an exception. Wespac branches and/or ATMs were all over Sydney and New Zealand for the duration of our trip. Per the information found on Cruise Critic, we located the Bus 400 stand easily and rode it to the Mascot Station.
    After dropping off luggage at the hotel, we went to Chinatown for lunch. The rest of the day was spent exploring Darling Harbour and along George Street. The Queen Victoria Building was very nice. Our timing was not too good as we missed the “I am Free Walking Tour” that had a meeting point at Town Hall.
    The next day, we took the train all the way to Circular Quay to visit the Opera House. The area was extremely crowded. Afterwards, we walked across the Harbour Bridge. The view from the bridge was breathtaking. While on the bridge, we saw people participating in the Harbour Bridge Climb. Luna Park is on the other side but there was nothing for us there. We took the ferry back from Milson Point.
    On embarkation day, we took the train back to Circular Quay. After dropping off the pocket WiFi at the Australian Post on Pitt Street using the pre-paid envelope, I went across the street to exchange the remaining Australian dollars to New Zealand dollars at the ANZ bank. After reading quite a few negative reviews about the money exchangers, I rather pay the $8 fee to a reputable bank. In my case, the fee worked out to be about 4%.
    The Overseas Passenger Terminal was a short and easy walk away. We dropped our bags off at around 11:15 a.m. and were on board before noon as the entire process was smooth and efficient.
    View All 695 Sydney (Australia) Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Sydney (Australia) Cruise Port Review
  • Rotorua
    We booked a custom tour with Scott Tours to visit Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland and Te Puia geyser. The ship docked after 9 a.m. and was cleared by 9:30. We managed to be on the wharf by 9:45. Our tour guide/driver Geoff was waiting for us. We had an excellent day! The first stop was actually at a boiling mud pool. Then on to Wai-O-Tapu where we spent 2 hours. The Champagne Pool was as advertised.
    After lunch, we went to Te Puia. We had a chance to visit a Kiwi bird sanctuary and a woodcarving workshop before the eruption. It was certainly worth the wait. On the way back, we stopped for hoki poki ice-cream as well as at a kiwi farm. All in all, it was the best day of the cruise.
    View All 59 Rotorua Reviews
  • Wellington
    This was not on the original itinerary. The inclement weather at the Fjords forced the change. So Wellington replaced Port Chalmers/Dunedin. The ship docked around 6 p.m. on the third night. We rode the free shuttle bus into town. But most of the stores and attractions were closed.
    The next morning, we hiked up to Mount Victoria from the second shuttle stop. We also visited the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa and walked along the waterfront. From the waterfront, we walked along Lambton Quay to do some shopping. We ended up at the Beehive where the first shuttle stop was.
    View All 395 Wellington Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Wellington Cruise Port Review