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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
My wife and I chose this cruise because of the itinerary and the add on pre cruise tour of Cambodia. Embarkation was smooth and efficient. Once onboard we were told an announcement would be broadcast when our cabins were ready. After a ... Read More
My wife and I chose this cruise because of the itinerary and the add on pre cruise tour of Cambodia. Embarkation was smooth and efficient. Once onboard we were told an announcement would be broadcast when our cabins were ready. After a bit of exploring we went to the buffet for a drink and a snack. Much the same as all other buffets people piling plates like it was to be their last meal and difficult to find a seat. No announcement came so we went looking to find our cabin was ready. The room was clean and tidy but a bit on the small side to other cabins and rather less storage. The balcony was also on the small side and a bit scruffy. My wife's luggage turned up fairly prompt but no sign of mine so off we went exploring and to have a cocktail or two. Time for dinner and still no luggage. I informed our cabin steward who said she would go and find out where it was. We didn't see her again until 3 days later when she said hello and asked how we were. The next time was our last night when she asked us to fill out a card that chose a crew member who excelled. So it was off to dinner in the clothes I had been wearing all day. Dinner was ok but nothing to brag about. Back to the cabin still no luggage so off to customer services. I told them of the problem and rather offhandedly the lady asked me if I had checked the luggage room. when I replied no I though luggage was always delivered to the staterooms. She said I should have checked there. Keep calm I told myself. I had to ask her where it was and made my way there. I located my case in the said room and was told it had been held back because there was a pair of scissors in my case. I had to get the scissors out and show them and was then told they were ok and I could take my case. This was now 9.00pm. My wife asked them why the information had not been sent to our room instead of us having to go round investigating. Norwegians customer experience is slowly going down the pan. Dining was not a great experience. We used Azure once and thought the room was dark and the low ceiling made it feel too compact and the meal was average but service was very good. Chin Chin was bright and cheerful and the meal was excellent as was the service. The other nights we had dinner in the Tsars Palace. This is a very delightful room, bright, spacious and luxurious. Service was ok most nights but there were some excellent waiters. The meals were quite mediocre and didn't live up to the opulence of the room. One night I had a lamb shank that was served with a slice of carrot and half a roast potato. I am not a huge eater but this was a bit ridiculous. Another night we ordered Irish coffees and as soon as they arrived we could see they were not right. The cream had all dissolved into the coffee, we picked them up and they were cold. We told the waiter who took them away and replaced them. The replacements weren't cold but slightly warm. We just left them. We told our waiter the following night and he told us they had run out of the whipped cream and were using powdered cream. He told us he would personally make coffees for us. The ones he made were very good. We found a lot of the meals we had were very average and quite often they were only warm. This was the only cruise where I only had one cooked breakfast due to the first one being lukewarm. The rest of the time it was toast, fruit and cereals. Bar service in general was very good except for when they ran out of mint for the mojitos. There was only one night where the entertainment was excellent. This was the Circus act. Some of the acrobatics were spectacular. The rock night was enjoyable. Two of the nights had solo female singers who I thought we just ok. The other night was not my scene at all with some very weird artists. the strangest being one huge overweight guy dancing in a leotard. It made me wonder why females have to cover their breasts when this guy had bigger breasts than some of the girls and he had them swinging about everywhere. But he was well received but not by me. The resident band were very good and performed a wide variety of songs. I cant comment on the activities on board as we only had one sea day so didn't explore. Cant comment on excursions either as we planned our own. We could not find any information on the ports we visited. This was our first Norwegian cruise and we found nothing that would make us want to cruise with them again Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
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 ... Read More
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. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
I booked this cruise on a whim because it had a single rate of around $700 for a week cruise and I thought that included the beverage package. After looking into it I realised that my cabin category didn’t include the drink package so ... Read More
I booked this cruise on a whim because it had a single rate of around $700 for a week cruise and I thought that included the beverage package. After looking into it I realised that my cabin category didn’t include the drink package so upgraded to that. With the new fare, the gratuities, the 20% for the drink package and the taxes, it came to over $1,400. I would have canceled except for Norwegian’s strict cancelation policy. I thought, oh well, I’ll just go. I had not been on Norwegian since the Norway almost 20 years ago and was interested to see how it was now. The extensive dry-dock done in late 2018 made the ship much more to my liking since I have mostly cruised on Celebrity. In fact, my favourite ship of all my 22 cruises was the Millennium so since the Jewel was about the same size I thought I might like it. I arrived at the port about 12:30 pm and it looked pretty crowded. I was pleased at how fast it actually went after I got in line and I was on the ship by 1 pm! My first impression was of the Crystal Atrium. Although attractive, a 2 deck high atrium is not exactly impressive and it was mobbed with people. The cabins were ready by 1:30 and when I checked out my inside cabin, 4579, it was fine, tiny, but fine. I was disappointed that I never actually met my cabin steward though. I don’t really like only having the bed as a place to sit but since I was alone in the cabin I used one as a sofa and one as a bed. As others have pointed out, the toilet is as an awkward angle which made you sit on it sideways. The shower, with a door, was probably the nicest I have ever had though. My impressions of the ship were mostly positive and I liked the decor. I found the Garden Cafe to be extremely chaotic though and I never once ate there. I did find the Great Outdoors at the back of the ship to be delightful and never had a problem getting a table and used the small buffet out there. The public rooms were attractive but I didn’t like the layout of the ship without a circular rotation possible on most decks. I found the food to be good to excellent and enjoyed 4 nights of specialty dining, which was outstanding. I thought the entertainment was of high quality too with excellent singers and dancers. I was a tad concerned that with so many having the drink package that getting a drink might be an issue. I have to say that I never once had a problem getting a drink and found the bar staff to be excellent. I didn’t do this cruise for the ports as I have sailed this same itinerary twice before already and didn’t get off the ship. I usually like to enjoy a bit of less crowded, quieter time while everyone is off on shore excursions but I was surprised at how many people didn’t get off the ship. The muster drill was the best ever and held in Le Bistro for me. No need to wear the life jackets and we could sit down through the whole thing in air-conditioning. My main complaint, which won’t affect many people, is as a smoker, they only designate a small portion of the Pit Stop for smokers. It was always mobbed but since I vape I could sit at the railing overlooking the pool which was much nicer. The only other smoking area besides the casino was on deck 7 port side outside. It was less crowded but with almost no seating. Th cruise was a party atmosphere which was fun and I met many delightful people from all over the world. I would consider cruising with Norwegian again but will probably stick with Celebrity or Royal Caribbean in the future. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary although we had been to all of the countries that were on the itinerary as recent as on a river cruise in 2017 to Viet Nam and Cambodia. The embarkation took 2 1/2 hours of which was the ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary although we had been to all of the countries that were on the itinerary as recent as on a river cruise in 2017 to Viet Nam and Cambodia. The embarkation took 2 1/2 hours of which was the longest embark that we had to endure after a long flight from US to Hong Kong one day prior. We were tired and hungry, but all of the restaurants were closed by the time we got on board because it was time for Muster. Our package included premium beverage, four specialty dining restaurants, unlimited internet, which was nice although the internet was crawling most of the time, and 120 free phone calls of which we used 55 minutes. We were extremely dissapponted to find out that we had to pay NCL $69 each to get a Viet Nam Visa and $89 each for a Cambodia Visa at embark. Of course, we were not aware of getting visas in advance because we planned not to get off in Cambodia because the ship only port one day there, and because we were in Cambodia 2017. The River Cruise Company advised us in advance that we had to get visa for Nam and Cambodia, but NCL did not. Moreover, Viet Nam charges $25 for its Visa; Cambodia charges $30, and it took us less than 5 weeks to get both visa. NCL charged $69 and $89, 3x the charge??? When several passengers asked the crews at the reception, one said because it was an emergency visas; other said to me because they “are merchant” visas. I pointed to that crew member the Viet Nam visa that was stapled to my passports in 2017 indicating that was a “merchant” visa, too, yet, I didn’t have to pay $69 and I got to keep the visa. I don’t know if that crew member got trained appropriately or he thought he could fool me into believing his feeble infor. On this trip, we had to turn in our Nam Visa on the last port day in Nam. So for those who want to keep it for souvenir are of our luck! The food in the Specialty Dining Restaurants was mediocre and poor in some instances. The restaurants’ staffs seemed trying but the execution was poor. At Cagney’s Steak house, I asked for a medium rare filet mignon, it came out rare. The server took it back, the kitchen recooked the steak that I already cut into instead of giving me a new one. What happened if I were sick with a cold or have some kind of contagious illness? Some thoughts for the management. Another incident at Chin Chin, Asian Fusion Restaurant, a line item on the menu, “Chinese Chicken...” one of the passengers asked the server, “what is Chinese Chicken?” The server responded with a laugh, “may be it’s small...” He then apologized later knowing what he said was inappropriate. Note for NCL management, there should be no Chinese Chickens, no American Chickens, and etc...on the menu. There were many more that we could name. In summary, we have cruised many times on large cruise ships and many more on river cruise ships, our experiences were better than NCL, which was our first time. We are not so sure if we want to give NCL a second chance! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
We joined a group of friends who had selected this cruise. The food in the dining room at dinner time was inconsistent, ranging from very good to inedible (eg steaks). Our server Marie was excellent. Breakfast and lunch in the ... Read More
We joined a group of friends who had selected this cruise. The food in the dining room at dinner time was inconsistent, ranging from very good to inedible (eg steaks). Our server Marie was excellent. Breakfast and lunch in the dining room was consistently very good. Our cabin midship on the fourth deck by the tender gangway should not be used for guests. There was consistent irritating noises day and night from ship operations. The on-board entertainment and musicians were excellent. We particularly enjoyed listening to the Love Brothers and Lira. Other than the Tsar’s Palace main dining room we ate in O’Sheehan’s which we found quite good. We did not eat at the Garden Cafe buffet or any of the specialty restaurants. The alcohol prices were more than we were willing to pay even though we enjoy a glass of wine at dinner time. The majority of our alcohol consumption was while we were in port. We chose private shore excursions with our group of twelve rather than ship excursions. We prefer the chance to customize our own tours at a cost savings. For example the Ancient Temples Tour in Ko Samui, Thailand listed at $149.00 per person from the ship was done by our group by private tour arranged on shore for $20.00 per person for basically the same tour. Activities listed in the daily schedule were mostly money making for the cruise line. In summary it is highly unlikely that we will sail with Norwegian again unless they are the only ones that have an itinerary that we want to do. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We chose this cruise based primarily on the itinerary. In summary we had a good vacation despite a few notable shortcomings with Norwegian. We found the ship to be very relaxing with a good mix of entertainment options, public spaces like ... Read More
We chose this cruise based primarily on the itinerary. In summary we had a good vacation despite a few notable shortcomings with Norwegian. We found the ship to be very relaxing with a good mix of entertainment options, public spaces like casino, bars, pool, etc; and nice private spaces - our stateroom was the perfect size for our family of 3 (larger than the Celebrity cruise we took a few years back). Service onboard was generally adequate. Many guest facing folks were nice, and enthusiastic. However, there was a higher proportion of staff on this cruise who simply weren't as friendly as they should have been. Specialty restaurant waitstaff were generally underwhelming. Front desk / reception was a challenge (they were not able to help on really the only 2 issues that came up for us). Not only could they not help, but they definitely did not display empathy nor the desire to go out of their way to come up with creative solutions. Check-in in Hong Kong was not as described - we arrived around 12:30 and were issued a queue number, ended up waiting about 2 hours to get checked in and onboard. Once we were called to check in, the process was quick and efficient. I was surprised and uncomfortable with the fact that they collected our passports (and kept them) at the boarding door. I don't think this was communicated ahead of time, and in general was not something I felt good about. When I asked why this was happening, the woman literally laughed at me - perhaps a language/culture barrier problem but off-putting nonetheless. Food - was OK, definitely a mixed bag. Leathery bacon at the buffet - consistently. Ice cream machines that couldn't keep up with demand (serving liquidy soft serve). Chin Chin's was in general not tasty (we ordered 5 different entrees among 4 adults) and the only one that tasted good was the sweet/sour pork. Cagney's steak was supremely disappointing - meat quality was mid-market grocery store level (think safeway or albertson's "choice" cuts). The silver lining in this cloud was the notion that since the food wasn't great, we didn't overeat. Ever. I overheard other adults making similar statements. With about 3 days remaining onboard, we found there were some things they were running out of. No pineapple at the buffet. No lemons for iced tea. No sprinkles for ice cream. These seem like small things, but they are the little things that make a vacation great or less-than-great. Excursions - the selection was a bit thin. Too many similar outings to temples across the various ports. Would have been nice to have a few more cultural viewpoints that were more diversified. Also, our experience in Cambodia was not good - a beach with no amenities and a market with no amenities. Other tours were too limited in availability and we did not get our reservation in on time. The brightest shining stars on this cruise: 1) The cabin was large (we had a mini suite balcony - essentially one room with a curtain divider between the bed and the pull-out sofabed). Much nicer than our previous experience on Celebrity. The fact that it has recently been renewed I think helped. 2) Our 6-year old absolutely loved the Kids Club. We literally couldn't pull her away. The staff were all amazing, engaging, fun. Lots of great activities. This was our first Norwegian cruise and while we didn't hate it, they also didn't make a good enough impression on us to convince us to stop trying new cruise lines. Our next cruise likely won't be with Norwegian. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We chose this cruise based on its itinerary and it was very enjoyable. It was a first cruise for us (well, I had been on a cruise 28 years ago with a girlfriend but that was a long time ago) so we were not sure how we would enjoy this type ... Read More
We chose this cruise based on its itinerary and it was very enjoyable. It was a first cruise for us (well, I had been on a cruise 28 years ago with a girlfriend but that was a long time ago) so we were not sure how we would enjoy this type of travel. We did a lot of research and it paid off (mostly). FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO SEEMED SURPRISED BY ADDITIONAL COSTS, TENDERS AND OTHER MATTERS, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE SPEND SOME TIME ON RESEARCH! For example, by reading other reviews of cruisers, we knew that getting to Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City) and back in time would be difficult because of traffic and the timing of the ship's arrival and departure, so we took the NCL excursion. We were Haven Guests and were very grateful for the extra service (such as embarkation and disembarkation priority along with a reserved area for meals at breakfast and lunch) making our trip experience much better than many others, I am sure. What we didn't fully understand, though, was that being on deck 9 instead of 14 meant that we sometimes missed the true benefits of the Haven experience (such as having a butler and concierge ready to make things easier for us). Our butler and concierge were generally MIA unless we called and they both seem surprised that we hadn't asked to have something when we thought it would just be done (they only discovered that we were first time cruisers at the end of the trip and things might have been easier if we had volunteered that up front). There were a few other blips but we figured out what we needed to do in the first few days (and I did express my concerns to them) and we did get in tune with them after that. However, if you want to experience the full benefits of the Haven, I would recommend that you find a cabin/suite on Deck 14. Our cabin was right up front and the benefits of two balconies was wonderful, allowing us to have the best of both views and, while the noise of the anchor going up and down was clearly evident, it really didn't disturb us. Also, I am very prone to motion sickness and didn't feel the least bit queasy for the entire trip. We took mostly independent tours and they were, overall, excellent. There was one dud excursion which had more to do with the lack of English by the tour guide but we did hit all the sights. The tour into Bangkok using NCL was excellent, given that the guide was herding 32 people around but I cannot recommend the tour at the end of our trip into Singapore. We took the 4 hour tour ending at the airport and it was very expensive and certainly unimpressive. Dining was very hit and miss; Chin Chin was dreadful and La Cucina wasn't far behind. I would certainly not waste my money on La Cucina! Both service and the food was way below average. The first week seemed generally off for most of the entire dining areas - it was as if the waiters did not know what they were doing or where they should be at any one time. We were left waiting for several minutes without so much as a glass of water on a number of occasions and sometimes the food was not very warm when it arrived. A couple of very nice meals were had at Cagney's and Teppanyaki (go for the show, although the food was very good) but none of the meals made me feel that I had to go back. I admit I had expected better prepared food and the quality of the raw ingredients seemed lacking sometimes. The meal at Azura was very good and I would highly recommend going to the free sit down venues over the buffet (where a couple of times when we ventured in, we were horrified by the noise and people eating right beside the food - presumably so they could go back for more immediately. The fitness facility was good although I'm sure that it would have benefitted from some extra space. The free classes were generally well attended (or, on sea days, over attended) but the paid classes were almost empty. Internet was very poor but the guy at the Internet cafe was very helpful to get the most out of it. I must admit that I didn't pay enough attention to the small print and it was annoying that the service we had only applied to one device at a time! We had one unlimited service and two 250 minute services (that came as part of our package) so it was okay but I saved any big work on my computer for our days on shore when we could get 4G wifi service. Overall, we were very happy with our first cruise with Norwegian. They do seem to have worked out most of the problems with embarkation and disembarkation and tendering (at Koh Samui, for example, the ship was using commercial tender operations along with its own lifeboats) on this particular routing. This allowed for at least triple the numbers to get on the tender and the lineups were greatly reduced. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
I’ve travelled a lot, but this was my first cruise. And it may well be my last. It was the worst vacation I have ever experienced. I chose this mode of travel as I am single and have a deadly allergy to all nuts and peanuts. After ... Read More
I’ve travelled a lot, but this was my first cruise. And it may well be my last. It was the worst vacation I have ever experienced. I chose this mode of travel as I am single and have a deadly allergy to all nuts and peanuts. After several emails, medical questionnaires and a phone conversation with Norwegian, I was advised that they could safely handle my special dietary needs. I was very excited, as I didn’t think I could ever visit these countries; countries rich in nut and peanut products. Well as it turned out, my allergy was just one of many issues I encountered while on the Norwegian Jewel for 2 weeks visiting Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. On a positive note, I found the ship and my cabin to be very clean and comfortable. There were plenty of staff everywhere, greeting and cleaning as they went. In fact the ratio of staff to customers was incredible at almost 3:1. However, the efficiency and productivity of the Jewel’s team was very low and their customer service was appalling. In fact, Guest Services’ attitude was…”if you don’t like it, there’s the door. Let us know when you are leaving on your way out”! That’s exactly what they told some friends I met, who had booked a room for 4 but only got beds for 3! My experience at Guest Services wasn’t any better. Even though I had a letter advising that on arrival the Executive Chef would meet with me to discuss my special dietary needs, they snarled at me with a look and tone of voice that was shocking. They told me the chefs were very busy and could not attend to any special needs. It took me hours to sort through that one, but as it turned out…I think they were right!! Eventually I was able to pre-order my meals so they could be prepared nut free, but I worried about everything I put in my mouth. I couldn’t trust them from one meal to the next, as it was clear they didn’t understand or didn’t care about cross contamination. Luckily I only had one minor incident. Besides the safety of the food for me, the overall dining experience was very poor. There was always a team of restaurant staff close by to remove your dirty glass or fork before you even put it down, but it took forever to have a request like ketchup, tea or a glass of wine fulfilled. The food started off very good, but deteriorated to very bad as the days went by. The last few days it was almost inedible. More people than not were returning their meals. It made for a very unpleasant dining experience. Customer service at the Excursions desk wasn’t any better. It didn’t matter that I’d pre-paid for one of their expensive excursions every day. They seemed to treat everybody in line terribly! The Manager was no better. At least I didn’t mind the 2-2.5 hr highway drives from the pier to the destinations (one way), as I got to see some of the countryside, but it wasn’t great travel time. In my opinion, leadership was sadly lacking on this ship. Management’s response to everything was “it’s not our fault” and as a result they took no responsibility for anything. In turn, they took little to no action in resolving anything. Communication between departments was totally absent and communication with customers wasn’t much better. Things often don’t work out in business the way we planned, but I think how you handle such incidents is critical and very telling. The team on this ship avoided and deflected issues coming at them. They simply didn’t seem to have the ability to problem solve on their feet. And that attitude and lack of training cascaded down throughout the entire organization. It was very evident on the pier at Ko Samui during our first excursion. People were passing out in the blazing sun for hours with no shade, water, proper line ups or communication, while we waited for tendering that went awry. A mob mentality almost took over as people struggled for basic survival and Sr. Officers stood by chatting and laughing amongst themselves. It was utter disorganization and disbelief for passengers, as many could be heard wondering out loud how this crew would handle a disaster at sea. It was no wonder people laughed out loud as the Captain addressed the ship’s passengers some 3-4 days later about that incident, saying that safety was his #1 priority. These are just a few examples from my trip with the Jewel. It was a stressful vacation. When I wasn’t sorting out my own issues, I was listening to others vent about their own terrible experiences on board and others who even called Head Office to no avail. I was happy to get off that boat. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Chose this cruise line/ship for the itinerary. Never sailed NCL before and never will again. We have sailed many, many times with Celebrity, Royal, Carnival and princess to name a few and this cruise line fell far below each of those. ... Read More
Chose this cruise line/ship for the itinerary. Never sailed NCL before and never will again. We have sailed many, many times with Celebrity, Royal, Carnival and princess to name a few and this cruise line fell far below each of those. Complete disorganization with tours to the point we waited over 4 hours in the hot sun for a tender to the ship because the crew did not realize low tide was coming in. There were no announcements in fact it took the crew from ANOTHER CRUISE LINE docked there to try and assist. Saw a few of the crew laughing and thought that this was funny....no apologies from NCL - they could care less. Really, are you not a cruise line? The ship was older and no bells or whistles at all. The crew was just average with no one going "out of their way" and while the food was OK, we were not impressed at all. The only positive was the entertainment on the ship which was surprisingly very good. Cabin was typical and again nothing impressive. I would choose Royal or Celebrity in the future and never sail NCL again. Paid quite a bit of money for a disappointing cruise in Asia. In reviewing the actual ship, I would again say it has no bells or whistle. No outdoor movie screens, small grand entrance. Cabins are what you would expect and one feature that I did like was the ability to close a door to the toilet (even though it was clear). Pillows were much nicer then previous cruises. The staff was average but most seemed to just "do their job" and not go above and beyond. While some did have the approach of being super friendly, the majority did not and when they did, it seemed very forced. The entertainment was outstanding. They had shows that you would see in Vegas and I was very impressed that they were able to carry these out on a ship. I would say, this cruise probably had the best entertainment with the exception of Allure of the Seas. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Was booked on Voyage of the Seas out of Singapore but as friends pulled out of the holiday, we cancelled our RC cruise and booked with Norwegian as the dates matched our flight times.....wished we hadn’t now. We’re big fans of ... Read More
Was booked on Voyage of the Seas out of Singapore but as friends pulled out of the holiday, we cancelled our RC cruise and booked with Norwegian as the dates matched our flight times.....wished we hadn’t now. We’re big fans of Norwegian hence why we swapped to this trip. We couldn’t fault our previous cruise on the Breakaway so we had high hopes for our first cruise to the Far East. Firstly, let me say the places we visited were excellent as were the people and our only complaint would be that we didn’t have enough time in them so we are planning to return and spend a few days in each as one day in Bangkok for example just isn’t enough. But as for the cruise itself.... we weren’t happy. The good parts.... as mentioned, the itinerary was great, the frontline cruise staff (waiting staff, cabin steward, bar staff etc) were all great, polite and lovely as they usually are. Food in the Garden Cafe buffet restaurant, Chin Chin’s and Cagney’s speciality restaurant was excellent. The ship’s public areas were nice and smart due to a recent refurb and the ship itself was a smooth sailer. Now for the bad/frustrating elements...... the food in the main Azura restaurant (other than the meal on the last night) wasn’t great and neither was Cucina, Le Bistro & Moderna speciality restaurants. I had a filet mignon in Le Bistro that was so dry, I had to take mouthfuls of water just to swallow it. The oceanview cabin we had was probably the smallest we have ever had with a tiny, weird offset toilet and a bed where we couldn’t walk down the sides to the bed as the overhang of the unused pull down bed meant I had to climb over the bed each night to get into it. As part of the refit, the cabins have been largely left but they’ve replaced the old square tv’s with flat widescreen ones but when open, they overhang the narrow walkway to the door and/or bathroom so it’s easy to unexpectedly walk into at night. The onboard internet was a joke. You don’t need an internet package to access the NCL app functions but the WiFi wouldn’t hold the signal unless I activated our minutes package so I was effectively using up internet minutes to access onboard info. Sometimes it would but most times, it wouldn’t stay connected? In the main, the ship seemed understaffed. Hardly any drinks waiting staff around the ship for example on the pool deck or the buffet so you end up going to the bars, which in itself isn’t a problem. But when you get there and there are often 8+ customers waiting to order various drinks and cocktails and there is only one guy serving? The big single issues.... Embarkation was a nightmare. We were in group 1 as we were amongst the first to check in and despite being Latitidues members, it seemed your status wasn’t as relevant as the queue you started in as the latitudes queued people were given different group identifiers (colours as opposed to number) and were called forward before anyone else. Then the lady with the mic finally called out Group 1, exactly the same as she had called the other groups, so we all stood and started heading towards the ship before she then said ‘don’t go yet....just get ready’?? So we had all moved off our seats whereby newly checked in passengers were now coming through and sitting in them and she’s telling us not to go but to get prepared. Then she said it again and held us in limbo. It was like she was winding us up. Eventually, we get told to go towards the ship. All in all, we had our paperwork checked 6 or 7 times from the time we entered the terminal before going aboard. Why? Completely unnecessary and time consuming as people had put away their documents and just retained their sail away cards and then had to keep retrieving them so someone else could check them.... just wasting time. The first port was Koh Samui which was a tender port. We obeyed the cruise directors instructions to be actually ready to leave the ship before getting a tender ticket. Big mistake..... they didn’t launch enough tenders and we waited for over 2 hours to be called and it was 2 hours 40 minutes before we got to Koh Samui. There were big gaps in calling groups forward. Tenders were taking roughly 10 minutes to load, 20 minutes to cross and approx 5 mins to unload before returning to the ship for the next group. They only had 6 tenders running. So we didn’t get to Koh Samui until 11.40 ish and the last tender was scheduled for 4pm which meant we would only have 3-4 hours in port. Anyway, we headed back around 2.45pm as we didn’t have enough time to go exploring and there was already a long queue on the pier. Instead of loading 2 tenders at a time (as there was 2 loading/unloading points when discharging passengers earlier), NCL was only boarding from 1 point for some reason? The queue was getting longer and longer behind us and people were getting tetchy as some passengers seemingly decided that queuing wasn’t for them and pushed past everyone towards the front, which caused upset for some who were queuing in the hot sunshine. We watched as the NCL crew were seemingly messing around with one of the tenders and after 20 minutes or so, they had to throw a line onto it and tow it. At first we weren’t sure what was going on and thought it had perhaps broken down but it became apparent the tender had run aground as the tide was going out and the NCL crew hadn’t anticipated this. Then all the waiting tenders (there were 4 waiting by this point) turned around and sailed off. Bearing in mind we were watching this fiasco and had no idea what was happening as in typical fashion, we weren’t being told anything. We were towards the middle/front of the queue and didn’t hear anything informing us of what was occurring but we noticed that the queue behind were all moving back down the pier and we could see a mass of people heading towards another pier. So we followed and realised they were changing the boarding location of the tenders to where the other cruise ships (Tui and Aida) we’re boarding from. It was chaos with people rushing and we ended up in a mass crowd near where we think the tenders might now be boarding from. The reason I say that is that we still hadn’t any info from NCL so we were following everyone else like sheep without direct info. There must have been over 1500 people all crowded in. It was very hot, chaotic and a nightmare. We didn’t get back on the ship until 6.20pm (3 hours 35 mins after we joined the initial queue). So all in all, we spent something like 6 hours and 15 minutes waiting for and on a tender. It was a complete joke where we wasted loads of time instead of enjoying the actual port we wanted to visit. The ship left much later than planned..... Tui and Aida didn’t seem to have any problems. In Cambodia, when we got to the pier, there was a line for the shuttle bus. We had to sign up for the $15 tickets so boarded the bus to the town where we ended up hiring a Tuk Tuk type taxi. What we didn’t know was there was a free shuttle bus to the port gate, which is what we would have taken to get a Tuk Tuk, but this wasn’t signposted. When we got to the next port (Phu My), we opted to hire a taxi to go to Saigon. Our relatives decided to take the shuttle to the local town again at a cost of $15. So they went to the desk on the pier exactly as we did at the port before but they, along with everyone else, were told they had to go back on board and get tickets from Reception?? So people were going back and forwards as the procedure kept changing. At the next port, it was tickets on the pier again?? Just disorganised and chaotic. Now with regards to Cambodia, we need a visa for entry and you can get them on arrival. This visa is around $30 so when passengers were being charged $89, they were kicking up. Prior to us leaving the UK, we were told by NCL that visas for different countries could be between $29 and $89 and passengers from different countries may have different visas levered upon them. NCL didn’t specify the prices for different ports. It would be logical to assume that different countries have different charges but to charge $89 for a $30 visa is criminal. NCL are charging almost twice the price of the actual visa for printing out a form that we could have filled out ourselves but they didn’t give us the option. Some people had applied for an online e visa but it didn’t apply to the port of Sihanoukville. It applied to Sihanoukville airport down the road but not the sea port? So some passengers had paid for one visa ($30) and then got charged $89 by NCL regardless of whether they got off the ship or not. Loads of people were complaining at reception and removing their onboard gratuities. One receptionist was even advising it?? And this was for just one day in Cambodia and due to Sihanoukville being subjected to mass building works across the city amongst severe poverty, some cruise ship staff were even advising against bothering to go ashore as they said ‘it wasn’t very nice’?? You couldn’t make it up. We went to a few of the theatre shows. Whilst watching shows, we often had to get up and down multiple times as guests were arriving 10 minutes, 15 minutes and then 20 minutes after the show had began. Personally, I think it’s discourteous to arrive so late and interrupt passengers trying to watch a show but there obviously wasn’t anyone from NCL stopping people from entering the theatre so late so it continued unabated. I saw people across the theatre from us getting up to let people in 30 minutes after the start time?? Lastly, at disembarkation in Hong Kong, we had flights departing at 14.25 so thought we had loads of time to kill in the morning as on pretty much all cruises we’ve been on, disembarkation is usually pretty swift. But no, just to finish the cruise in the same manner the rest of the disorganised chaos had been, we came off the ship and into a departure hall that was chock full of people in a huge, meandering queue where you couldn’t work out where the end of the line was. It took 2 hours to get out of this and into another long queue for taxis. So despite having what we thought was loads of time, we ended up rushing to make our flight. Luckily, we ended up seeing a limo driver who was touting for fares and pulled us out of the queue and into his MPV in the car park above. We headed off to the airport where we just made our check in. If we had stayed in the taxi queue, we wouldn’t have made it. There were no NCL staff around and despite seeing this chaos, NCL on the ship didn’t think to change tack and call passengers who needed to make flights as a priority. The whole cruise from start to finish was a disorganised mess. It felt like the managing senior staff on the NCL Jewel hadn’t operated on cruises before as pretty much every aspect was disorganised and dysfunctional. In that regard, I felt for the front line staff who had to put up with passengers complaints and sour moods when it wasn’t their fault. In my opinion, it seems to me that NCL are trying to have a presence in the Far East as it looks good when advertising how far and wide their ships sail. They achieve this by having one ship doing multiple itinerary’s in far off places BUT they aren’t operating in these various regions all season so do not know the peculiarities of each port and end up in distant berths and having other problems. NCL need to decide if they want to run these routes and if so, do it properly or maybe with a senior crew who are capable of adapting to changing and varying ports/conditions as opposed to ones who are perhaps used to going through the motions in ports they visit week in, week out. For us in the future, we will have to weigh up the likelihood of a positive experience on NCL on far out routes versus an alternative cruise line with more experience in the region. It might be a better option?? Read Less
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