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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
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
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
I chose this cruise because of its interesting itinerary visiting several countries like Cambodia and Vietnam which we had not visited in the past. After sailing on 7 previous NCL cruises, we were well used to the freestyle crushing which ... Read More
I chose this cruise because of its interesting itinerary visiting several countries like Cambodia and Vietnam which we had not visited in the past. After sailing on 7 previous NCL cruises, we were well used to the freestyle crushing which NCL is famous for. Hence had no reservations about booking the cruise on NCL Jewel. We have always liked the smaller NCL ships like Spirit, Sun, Star and Jade. The only NCL cruise which we didn't like was on the Epic and hence have resisted in booking on bigger ships. Also itineraries on bigger ships are catered for mass markets whereas the smaller ships offer very interesting itineraries sailing to ports which are not visited by bigger ships. We flew to Singapore from London via BA and stayed for 1 night at one of the riverside hotels in Singapore. We had been to Singapore a few times before hence only stayed for 1 night however if you have never been to Singapore before, I would highly recommend staying 3 to 4 nights prior to cruise to take in most of this fabulous city. On the day of the cruise we took a local taxi to the cruise terminal for only 10 Singapore dollars and were at the port just after 11am. Check in was quick however as the cruise was visiting so many different countries, everyone's passports had to be throughly checked to ensure everyone had correct visas. I had made sure we had all the visas required (only Cambodia visa required for UK citizens) however lot of people who were checking in didn't have the correct visas so were charged a huge amount by the ship to get the visas and this was even before the cruise had begun. Thus lot of people were complaining how they were charged so much money eg. Ship charged $89 for each person for Cambodia visa however I had obtained them for £30 each by visiting Cambodian embassy in London. It is the passenger's responsibility (not the cruise line's) to ensure they have the the correct visas. So please be carefully in checking if any visas required well before travelling. In this cruise, the cruise line could arrange the visas (at a much higher cost) for all countries it was sailing to which was great for those who hadn't arranged them. However for some cruises you wouldn't be allowed to board if you didn't have the correct visa. Once checked in, we queued for the immigration which took about half an hour (much lesser than my previous cruise from Singapore which had taken well over an hour in the queue). Thereafter we boarded this beautiful ship which was just refurbished a few months ago. Everything seemed new in the public areas like furniture and carpets which was great. However I was surprised to see no embarkation photos being taken. In fact we noticed that very few photos were taken either at ports, or on open decks or in dining areas. May be this is for the best as most people don't end up buying them and hence have to be discarded. We were asked to go to garden cafe for lunch as cabins were not going to be ready till 1pm. There was plenty of choice including plenty of vegetarian options. However NCL have changed their food labelling system in the garden cafe. Before, all vegetarian food had a green symbol on label and red for non veg. However now they have green symbol for cold food and red for hot food which is silly as one can see if the food is hot or cold. When I queried that with the senior staff member at the restaurant, I was told that NCL had made that change so junior staff could interact more with customers as they would have to verbally advise someone who was vegetarian regarding what food was vegetarian or not. This was silly as most staff didn't know what food item was vegetarian or not when I queried and had to check with someone else. Also they were too busy to talk to guests. NCL need to bring in another system to identify vegetarian foods in garden cafe like 'V'symbol on the labels which is what they have in menus in all other restaurants. I was also advised by the senior staff that there was a seperate vegetarian section. However I told him that the vegetarian section only had Indian options and if I wanted to try other vegetarian cuisines I had to go to other areas of buffet which didn't have correctly marked labels. Anyway there was nothing he could do as NCL head office had made that decision. Although we used garden cafe for breakfasts and lunches only we soon became used to what foods were vegetarian or not as the menu didn't change much there. Food was good and loved their Indian veggie South Indian breakfast options. Cabins were ready after 1pm as advised. We had a port side balcony cabin on level 9 towards the aft of the ship. Great place as it was close to get to restaurants and was always quieter at the back end of the ship. The cabin was well appointed with new carpets and wall paintings. The bathroom was similar in design to Jade with seperate shower and toilet with sink in middle. Seems no changes had been made there. TV was on the smaller side compared to big screen ones on newer ships. However it had a great range of movies and news channels. It had around 4 movie channels showing drama, action, comedy and family movies. Also several news channels like BBC and several American and Australian ones but no CNN. The balcony was adequate size with 2 chairs and a table. Storage area was adequate too with plenty of drawers and shelves and hanging space too. The cabin steward, Alexandro, always kept the cabin nice and tidy with lovely towel animals every evening on the bed. He knocked the door when the luggage arrived (around 2pm). We unpacked our cases straight away and hid them away under the beds so we didn't have to see them again for the next 12 days. That is the beauty of cruising, you visit fascinating places nearly every day without packing and unpacking. After the fire drill and safety briefing at 4pm, the ship soon set sail after 5pm towards Koh Samui in Thailand. Food in the main dining rooms (Tsars palace and Azura) was great with a few vegetarian options everyday. Also I had a voice message and a letter left in cabin to say that if I wasn't happy with the vegetarian selections, I could speak to maitre'd who would arrange to get any other special requests prepared. However I didn't need to as I was happy with the choices they had on main menu. We dined mainly at Azura as it had a more intimate atmosphere but also visited Tsars palace a few times. As we had 3 day dining package in addition to the drinks package included, we visited the Italian, teppanyaki and French restaurant on 3 nights. Loved the French and teppanyaki restaurants and would be happy to go back. However not happy with the Italian one as the food choices that had were already in main dining room and garden cafe menus. Also service at Italian restaurant was not up to the mark. Never tried chin chin and O'Sheehans restaurants which were the other 2 complimentary options. However visited the O'Sheehans bar regularly as got great service from barman there. The other bars that we visited were at bliss lounge, pit stop which overlooked the pool deck and bar at the back of the ship. Didn't visit most of the bars on level 6 as we used to in the Jade. Late evenings we mainly visited the spinnakers lounge as it had the dance floor and live bands playing followed by DJ. However the bar staff were not very good and often got drinks mixed up or couldn't understand what we wanted. Anyway we enjoyed our times there most evenings. The shows in the theatre were great. Loved the 3 production shows: Rock you, velvet and Cirque De Bijou were all brilliant. Singers were great and so were all the dancers and aerialists. Also loved Mary Jess, the British singer who wowed us all with her operatic singing. Also enjoyed the local Thai dancers show, the Australian tap pack show and music shows by 2 of the singers from the production shows. In fact there wasn't a single show we didn't like which was a first as usually there always a few shows we don't end up liking. The cruise director, Dan, seemed to do a good job and also sang in the bands in spinakkers lounge. However we were shocked to see him telling off some junior staff when we docked in Hong Kong that they couldn't get off the ship until all passengers were off the ship. That is no way to talk to anyone, no matter how senior you are to them. Other than that he was always approachable and friendly. The other bands who played music around the ship were not as good as what we have experienced on other ships. There were very few activities during sea days with only 1 afternoon movie on each of the 4 sea days. We were given popcorn on 2 of those days but not the other 2. Probably ran out. NCL should certainly be screening more movies especially on sea days. Also lack of daytime activities during sea days was a disgrace. Luckily we had 3 good sunny sea days so most people were busy around the pool area. However on our last overcast and cooler sea day, there seemed to be nothing much to do around the ship. The captain of the ship could hardly ever been heard or seen. In fact we didn't hear him for first 2 days. Also he wasn't present at the finale show. An apology regarding the tendering chaos at Koh Samui (more about that later) came 2 days later. In our recent cruises, we have got used to captains who have been very visible around the ship and making announcements and jokes over the tannoy system. However this captain didn't seem to enjoy interacting with his guests. The first port of call was Koh Samui. This was the only port where ship had to tender. It was a beautiful sunny day and tendering process started early in the morning. We took an excursion to see temples and views of Koh Samui which was great. As we were on the tour, we didn't need a tender ticket to get off ship so were one of the first ones to get off. Tour finished at lunch time after which we went around the town and got back to tendering area around 2.30 or so. We were one of the lucky ones to get a tender back as soon as we got there. However thereafter it seems some people were queuing up for 3 hours or so to get a tender back. We were not sure what was happening as no announcements were made at the time. We were supposed to depart by 5pm but we didn't leave till around 9pm as passengers couldn't be brought back to the ship. Later we found out that due to change in tides, they couldn't load tender boats to full capacity. However that should have been known in advance and arrangements made to bring guests back from another tendering area. Lack of information to guests on ship was frustrating and captain only apologised regarding that 2 days later which is not good. If an incident happens, passengers need to be informed as soon as possible. We were in lam Chabong (gateway to Bangkok which is 2.5 hours away and Pattaya which is an hour away) for next 2 days. On the first day we did canals and Royal barges tour in Bangkok which was excellent with a great meal at a 5 star hotel. A lovely sunny but very humid day. Got back to ship around 6pm that day. Next day was another hot and sunny day and we did an ancient city tour near Bangkok which was very interesting too. Ship departed at 4pm that day and we were back an hour before that. The problem with this port is that it's too far away from the main cities. So one couldn't enjoy the night life offered by any of these 2 cities unless you were prepared to pay extortionate taxi costs (as no shuttles were offered at night). The ship should make arrangements for this for any overnight ports so guests can enjoy nightlife at these ports. Also, if you didn't do an excursion, the costs of day time shuttles to Bangkok were quite high. I'm sure guests wouldn't have minded paying for night time shuttles rather than for taxis. So in our opinion, this was a wasted overnight port and would have rather been in a port like Halong bay overnight to enjoy the nightlife offered there as it was easy to get into town from port area. This was our last port in Thailand. Next day, we were in Cambodia (Sihanoukville). We enjoyed this port and did a lovely excursion to temples, market and beaches on a sunny and hot day. However would have loved to visit Angkor Wat if we had an overnight stop. The main reason people visit Cambodia is to see Angkor Wat. So an overnight stop here rather than in Lam Chabong would have been better. Anyway, will have to make another trip to Cambodia too see that. After a day at sea, we entered Vietnam. Our first port was Saigon however the city was over an hour away from port. It was very hot and humid again. Very busy city with lots of motorbikes everywhere. It was a long day (over 9 hours) and we visited Buddhist pagoda, market, notre dam cathedral, presidential palace, lacquer showroom and were given 1.5 hours free time in between. No lunch was included. In fact not even a bottle of water was provided on this long day. Very difficult to cross busy roads in this city as hardly any pedestrian lights and no one pays attention to zebra crossings. Good to see this city once but would never go back there again. We had another sea day and then visited chan May in Vietnam where we did an excursion to see Da nang and marble beach. Had a good day sightseeing, visiting a museum, temple, da nang beach and a marble showroom but didn't actually see marble beach as it was a private beach for the 5 star hotels there. So not sure why the excursion had marble beach in its title. However we enjoyed the day which was once again hot and humid. The last stop in Vietnam was Ha long bay which was the highlight of this cruise. It was a misty day but luckily no rain which was forecast. We did a junk boat cruise around the islands and visited a cave which was very interesting. In the afternoon we walked to a local theme park and went on some really good roller coasters there. Surprised that the entry free to theme park including unlimited rides was only US $2 each. However when we tried to walk around the town area, we were hassled by guys on motorbikes trying to sell you stuff. So we returned back earlier. After another day at sea, we docked in Hong Kong. Debarkation was smooth on ship's part. However after a smooth immigration, the queue to get out of baggage area was long as there was not enough ground transportation for everyone as 2 ships were disembarking at same time. For Hong Kong to have such a nice new terminal and not have enough ground transportation for 2 ships, was a surprise. Hopefully it was a one off situation and doesn't happen regularly. We were out of the baggage area by 10.15 or so. We took a MTR tube to Hong Kong station which has down town facilities to check in luggage for certain flights. We got our boarding passes and then went to explore the beautiful city before returning back at night to take train to airport. All went very smoothly with no hiccups and we arrived back to London next day morning. On the whole I would highly recommend this cruise to anyone wanting to see highlights of Far East countries like Vietnam without any hardship involved. The itinerary was great but if they make minor changes in future like having overnight stop in Cambodia or Ha long bay, it would only make it better. The ship was great and I would give 4.5 stars for the cruising experience. Definitely one of our best cruises ever. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
This was a couples cruise to Asia covering Singapore (2 nights Pre-cruise) Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam & Hong Kong (2 nights post cruise) as part of celebrating my retirement Positives include quality of the ship (Refurbished in ... Read More
This was a couples cruise to Asia covering Singapore (2 nights Pre-cruise) Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam & Hong Kong (2 nights post cruise) as part of celebrating my retirement Positives include quality of the ship (Refurbished in 2018), quality of the food & choice of restaurants and shows performed by the ship’s cast were of a very high standard Negatives & where NCL really need to up their game are 1. Lack of organisational skills especially on-shore excursions. We booked 2 thru NCL & both times there was considerable delays in getting bus numbers allocated & getting all guests ashore. Worse was on Koh Samui where tenders were required & NCL only used 5 to transport around 2000 people over a journey that too 20 minutes each way. No surprise that we were 3 hours delayed on leaving port that night!! One other complaint about staff were those involved in teh excursions team. It is normal that they will have local knowledge & experience of the various local ports as well as fact sheets that help guests doing their ‘own thing’. NCL staff had neither & could only provide detail on the shore excursions that they offered 2. Costs - altho NCL came in around the same package cost as other cruise lines the fact they offered extras in the form of on-board credit & internet access anything that had to be paid for on the ship was way more expensive than experienced with other cruise lines. Average cost per excursion was €99 some of which we could have done ourselves at a fraction of the cost. We were also forced to purchase a Visa for Cambodia even if we were NOT going on-shore & staying on the ship. I enquired Pre-cruise & the embassy could provide this @ €35 per person it didn’t state that we would need a visa if we were not disembarking however, NCL billed us €99 per person. Considerable admin fee in my opinion 3 altho the ship’s cast provided excellent shows the acts brought on-board were less than impressive. In fact out of the 5 acts only one, Mary Jess, provided the standard of performance experienced on other ship’s 4. The locations visited were part of the reason we booked the cruise however, was surprised that the ship docked in what can only be described as container yards or working shipyards with the majority miles from the locations that we wanted to visit. For example, in Da Nang it was a 30 minute shuttle bus transfer (@$15pp) to the town/beach & that was the best/closest. Worse was Bangkok (2.5hr drive) & Hanoi (3hr drive) Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We are two 50 something sisters on our first trip to Asia. The Jewel was perfect for us with many activities on board that appealed to each of us. One sister is a Vegan and we were introduced to our pre-order contact the first night. ... Read More
We are two 50 something sisters on our first trip to Asia. The Jewel was perfect for us with many activities on board that appealed to each of us. One sister is a Vegan and we were introduced to our pre-order contact the first night. Joy was fantastic and although he had many special diet parties on board, he took the time to customize our pre-orders. The only bad dish we had was in La Cucina and it was the risotto dish from the menu - it was so salty it was inedible. We've read the other reviews and were not dissapointed in this cruise at all. The service was fine. The shore excursions we took were fine and we took advantage of the Shore-ex credit and the beverage package. With the hot weather, we did buy a lot of bottled water - which does add up cost wise. Embarkation involved several lines, but check in with NCL went quickly. The Singapore immigration line moved at a snails pace which of course is out of NCL'[s control. We had lunch in the MDR and our room was ready at about 1:00pm. One of our bags didn't show up before dinner so I went looking for it. It was in a holding room because my contact lens liquids were thought to be cans of beer - ha! Previous Cruise Critic reviews and our roll call were both a wealth of information - so we were not surprised by the charges for the Vietnam and Cambodian visas. We chose not to get them directly from the California embassies. We also knew that Ha Long Bay was no longer a tender port because a new international pier had opened several months ago. We also knew that Koh Samui was the only tender port and that 2 other 2,000 passenger ships were in that day. When NCL cancelled the shore excursion we had booked, we found a private tour and were concerned about meeting on time. Again, Cruise Critic helped us out. We went to the Meet & Greet the day before and were informed that there would be 6 lifeboat tenders. A member from the previous cruise from Sydney asked about Latitudes assistance and the officers contacted Cruise Next staff to make it happen. We met early and this is the only reason we made our private tour and were back just before the return tender problems. The tender problems in Koh Samui were very poorly handled. When we saw local tenders and ship tenders still coming back at 6:30, we knew it was bad news. What we heard from others was terrible. Standing in that heat on a pier for 3 hours is inexcusable. As others have noted in their reviews, the Captain didn't address the issue until two nights later and basically said it was up to the port, not his fault. And that at our last port we would stay an extra hour until 9:00pm. Ridiculous. On our second Thailand shore excursion, we went to Pattaya where the main attraction is the Sanctuary of Truth. It was good, but we had to endure a local guide instead of our shore ex guide. Then we were taken to a jeweler mall to shop. This should have been disclosed. It was a complete waste of time, but was air conditioned. The shore ex manager's response was that all Thailand tours go to jewelry malls just like carpet factories in Turkey. Huh, we were on a tour in Bangkok the day before and no jewelry mall. Singapore and Ha Long Bay were the highlights of the cruise. We took the ship junk cruise excursion and thought it was a great value. We also had a fantastic local guide on the boat. The junks met up at the ship instead of on the pier. We went in the afternoon, which seemed to be a bit less hectic than what we saw in the morning. Best tip for this port, is to be up early when the ship sails through the bay - magical. As others have mentioned, the production show were great. The Thai show was good as was Frenchie Davis. Karaoke was fun the first couple of nights. The other music acts in the bars were not as good as on other NCL ships, but the show band was quite good. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2018
Our first cruise outside North America. We had ultimate beverage package, and 3 specialty dinners. We are late 50s and on this cruise probably were among the “younger passengers “. The weather was great during entire week. The ... Read More
Our first cruise outside North America. We had ultimate beverage package, and 3 specialty dinners. We are late 50s and on this cruise probably were among the “younger passengers “. The weather was great during entire week. The service level and food is not as good as in bigger NCL ships and in the US. Some of the Waiters and Bar staff were not exactly rude but certainly not friendly either. Same goes for the cabin service. We dined twice in teppanyaki restaurant which we knew to be very good. Complimentary restaurants for dinner were not good which we also knew from previous experience. Garden cafe selection is wide enough to get something nice to eat during day time. Salad selection could have been wider. The Ship is nice and well kept/ renovated. Very clean. Evening show was excellent, much better than what we have seen before on other NCL ships. Besides the main show in the evenings the ship seemed to be fairly quiet , meaning no one was keeping the show in the pool area or other public areas. Band was occasionally playing. There was a piano in the main atrium but did not see anyone playing it. We did one shore excursion, Panoramas of Kuala Lumpur. It was Ok, local guide Rose was good. There were surprisingly many delays and changes in sailing schedule and no obvious reason (for ex weather). In general this was a nice cruise for a couple who likes reading books in quiet but if you’re a party animal you might be bored. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
We have cruises in this area twice already now with an alternative line, and have also been on NCL Jade twice over the years Post dry dock the new look and feel of the ship is excellent. It feels fresh and really like the “toned ... Read More
We have cruises in this area twice already now with an alternative line, and have also been on NCL Jade twice over the years Post dry dock the new look and feel of the ship is excellent. It feels fresh and really like the “toned down” decor. The introduction of the Irish bar in particular is a great thing, and was a good central hub of activity right above the atrium We found the food to be excellent in Main Dining Room, such that we didn’t use specialty restaurants at all (we usually would do several times in a week). Generally service from the staff was excellent Smooth weeks sailing too.... so all very positive HOWEVER, there were some issues 1. Boarding at Singapore was a fiasco. We got off lightly with 2 hours of waiting and queuing, but some fared worse than we did. I’d have expected some niggles maybe as it was first run since dry dock, but the embarkation staff clearly didn’t have a clue how to process passengers and this created a huge backlog. 2. I suspect there were some “niggles” post dry dock. Our Air Condifioning wasn’t really working on arrival, it took 4 contacts including a late night (1am) rant at Guest Services to get any improvement. It did improve eventually but given the climate in that region I’d hardly call the cabin a sanctuary to rest and cool down as it usually is on board 3. MASSIVE failure in Kuala Lumpur. I’ve no idea what or why but literally just before getting off on day 1 we were told due to “operational issues with immigration in Singapore” our departure on day 2 had to be brought forward from 14:00 to 09:00. We had booked a hotel to stay off board that night, that plan was totally ruined given the distance from city to port made it to pressured in the morning. When we did depart on day 2 the ship limped along at barely any speed, so I am not sure why we couldn’t have stayed longer - I really suspect something undisclosed was the issue that forced us to leave early on the highlight stop of the trip Overall we had a good time (British couple, mid 30s). The demographic on board was older and far more British than we are used to with NCL, and this affected the atmosphere on board. The “white hot party” was rubbish basically compared to others we have done, and the Cruise Director and his staff were rarely seen in the week (we didn’t do any shows, guess he was hiding there) So overall NCL severly let themselves down with this one. Great refreshed ship, food and service - but cruising is a huge experience holiday where logistics matter, and NCL failed completely throughout the week with this Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We chose this trip for the itinerary. We recently retired and we were hopeing for a trip of a lifetime. Overall the itinerary was a good one with stops in very interesting ports. However, we have sailed with Norwegian 6 times now and ... Read More
We chose this trip for the itinerary. We recently retired and we were hopeing for a trip of a lifetime. Overall the itinerary was a good one with stops in very interesting ports. However, we have sailed with Norwegian 6 times now and this was probably the least organized in terms of shore excursions that we have ever been on. We found the shore excursions to be rated incorrectly in terms of difficulty. The weather in South East Asia is oppressively hot, and even though the ship recommends staying hydrated on the side trips, we were not allow to take water on or off the ship in most ports of call. In most circumstances the tours lasted 4-6 hours and many without water or even a small boxed lunch. Would it be too much to ask for NCL to throw us a some water and a banana? One poor gentleman actually passed out in Bangkok due to the heat and dehydration. The days that we had to be tendered in to the shore were nightmares! Neither the shore excursion crew were organized nor the buses etc. at the port. The tenders are HOT and uncomfortable and NCL consistently feels the need to PACK the tender full of people before leaving the ship. In Cambodia we chose to take the Level1 shore excursion through Ream Naitonal Park. It was "billed" as a boat ride and tour of the countryside. In our group we had a woman with broken ribs and another walking with a cane. The boats were slippery and difficult to get in and out of. But that wasn't the worse of it. When we got out of the boats we were literally in the middle of nowhere, with a guide that spoke very little english, who led the group on a one+ mile hike through rice fields, across duck boards, through marshes and through mud and muck. I truly have no idea how the woman with the cane made the trip. We stopped at little hut that was a school where cute Cambodian children sang to us and showed us how they write their language. Then we hiked another 1+ mile or so through some very tretuous and muddy paths to find the bus. We were not provided ANY water or any food this entire trip. The native people did provide us a sample of fruit if you dared to eat it. Many people were bitten by ants and scraped up with nettles. One person slipped on the mud upon leaving. It was NO LEVEL 1 - that's for sure. And we found this to be true with several other shore excursions as well. Overall the trip was lovely, but the ship was also headed into dry dock at Singapore and we got the sense that in the last few days of the trip those working on the shiip really started not to care so much about customer service. Everything was removed from our cabin mini-bars two days in advance of the cruise being over. Workman started to repair the ship and you would find them in your room fixing things all the time. For a ship that advertises NO LITTER on the seas, they started to scrap paint off the outside railiings about 3 days into the curise and my husband and I watched (disgusted) as thousands of led based paint chips flew into the ocean. There is a lot to improve on this trip. And the Jewel itself is in need of some serious renovation. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2018
Tokyo-singapore oct 18. this was my first cruise, undertaken with a group of 14 family/friends. Whilst we really enjoyed the cruise overall, a few of the ports certainly left a lot to be desired, being quite a distance from any large ... Read More
Tokyo-singapore oct 18. this was my first cruise, undertaken with a group of 14 family/friends. Whilst we really enjoyed the cruise overall, a few of the ports certainly left a lot to be desired, being quite a distance from any large cities (Bangkok was a 3-4 hr drive!) & as stated in some previous reviews, the tendering process was a nightmare & in one instance (Koh Samui), downright dangerous when trying to reboard the ship. Sihanoukville in Cambodia was probably the worst, atrocious roads & flithy, smelly markets. Why NCL would think this was a good tourist destination astounds me, & to make matters worse, they charged $89USD per person for a visa, regardless of whether or not you stayed on board (according to the cambodian website, visas are approx $38USD). On the plus side, we found the ship facilities very good. Our cabin (deck 5 midship) was cleaned spotlessly every day with the steward checking each evening whether we required anything. The restaurants & bars were never too busy to get seating, though we did book a couple of times being such a large group. We only dined once in Azure & whilst the food was tasty, it was only just warm. Cagneys & the Tepanyaki were definately highlights. Staff were all friendly & helpful & there seemed to be onboard activities most of the day if you wished to participate. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2018
Again we chose this back-to-back cruise primarily because of the most interesting itinerary. This cruise started in Shanghai, China, and ended in Yokohama Japan. The Orient was new for us and it was a " port intensive " sailing ... Read More
Again we chose this back-to-back cruise primarily because of the most interesting itinerary. This cruise started in Shanghai, China, and ended in Yokohama Japan. The Orient was new for us and it was a " port intensive " sailing visiting 7 port cities in Japan, and 3 in China with only 2 sea days. The Japanese ports of Shimizu and Yokohama were the only duplicates from the first itinerary. In Shanghai and Beijing we enjoyed overnight stays and two days in each city. The Great Wall and Tianjin square were easily accessible. The oriental cultures have a tremendous respect for nature represented through their religions of Shinto & Buddhism. We learned much about the origins, overlaps, and uniquenesses of the Eastern cultures. Broadening our horizons we have learnt Japan is not one island, but rather consists of 7,000 islands ! The cruise was enjoyable, and cabins and ship clean​,it is dated and wear is showing.... It is scheduled for a major drydock retrofit in October 2018. Food was reasonable throughout the variety of ship restaurants. We noticed most restaurant food was only warm - the exception being the Garden Cafe immediately upon opening. One of the most significant concerns remains " head office control " limiting the chefs ability to vary menus, and provide culinary cuisine more reflective of the Asian area of travel. While it is nice to not deal with the logistics of transport, and accommodation in this variety of cities, we did miss out on experiencing the local oriental cuisines in more depth. Overall entertainment quality and variety was good with one exception that should have been thrown overboard. However the absence of any entertainment reflective of the oriental culture, " enrichment programs " c​ultural , basic language , or port information was disappointing. Onboard activities have been severely curtailed, and many services had very limited hours. The focus was clearly on NCL Shore excursions,​ and selling additional spa, dining, or health services. For example the library only opened for one hour most days, and although a quiet spot to read it smelled of smoke. Shore excursions desk was also only open briefly, and there were often significant lines. We guess they are trying to embrace the more cost effective electronic culture and encourage you to book that way. Most shore excursions were full bus loads. Ironically we found the variety, quality, and execution of the tours in China to be considerably better than Japan. Rather than being limited to traditional sightseeing tours for example we were able to spend several hours in a traditional Chinese family home, and rural visits to better experience the culture. Does China have more experience with tourism than Japan ? Tour guides were clearly more experienced and professional. As all locations were new to us, and due to the language and cultural challenges, we booked mostly NCL excursions. Increasingly we discovered more guests successfully using independent guides, or venturing out on their own with taxis, and they were reporting much more satisfying experiences. The assembly process of participants in the ship theatre, disembarkation & load the tour buses continued to be chaotic, with clients arriving late, not queuing respectfully, & not following instructions. Frankly this waiting and disorganization caused many tours to be less than enjoyable. In Sakaiminato the ship was docked and cleared for several hours before shore tour participants were allowed off this resulted in a 1.5 hour backlog at customs and tour agendas curtailed and cut short as a result. Communication issues with customs & immigration , & embarkation processes, were experienced, but to be expected with many new ports, and several foreign countries. Using the walking or jogging track you also encounter “ smoking areas “ where your exercise and fresh air experience was dampened. For the most part staff were genuine and helpful, however there were several encounters were it was obvious staff were not allowed to think, and responded accordingly with a " standard answer " even when it made absolutely no sense in the circumstances. Upon disembarkation in Tokyo we had a week to explore and experience the world famous quality from Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Kawasawki, Yamaha, Suzuki, Toshiba, Canon, Sony, Panasonic. Japan taught the world " just-in-time " manufacturing, and that organizations should value their employees. We enjoyed Golden Week, Fruhlings Fest, and the Port festivals and activities while there. Read Less
16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
Although we cruised a while ago on the NCL Joy (December 2017 and April 2018), I thought our experiences might be useful to share now that the Joy is leaving the Asian market. I will aim to keep my comments to points that may still apply ... Read More
Although we cruised a while ago on the NCL Joy (December 2017 and April 2018), I thought our experiences might be useful to share now that the Joy is leaving the Asian market. I will aim to keep my comments to points that may still apply in the new market, so won't bore you with the dismal embarkation experience in Shanghai! The ship was less than a year old when we sailed, and is beautifully fitted out with that luxury feel. We booked a Concierge Suite, which I believe is unique to the Joy. I will comment below on the details of the room, but included with the room were a number of privileges, including access to a dedicated lounge where breakfast and lunch were served daily. The lounge we used (which was located directly above the bridge) is going to be opened up to all after the refurbishment (Observation Lounge), which is a shame as it was a glorious quiet location to hang out (with amazing views), but the website is still promising private dining. We also got access to a concierge desk, a free go kart ride and a free laser tag game, the "unlimited beverage package" and 6 speciality dining coupons. We did not visit the MDRs as they exclusively served Asian food, but the Gardens Cafe buffet had a great selection of asian and western food. We mainly though dined in the speciality restaurants. Many were the usual NCL offerings: Cagneys, La Cucina, Teppanyaki, Le Bistro and Food Republic; and they were all good. Food Republic was particularly good for casual dining. It is disappointing to see that they are replacing the Chinese Hot Pot and Korean BBQ with a "social comedy and night club" - it would have been nice for the ship to keep some individuality. There was also a great Noodle Bar which is being replaced by a fitness centre; and also a wonderful Grand Tea Room which is being replaced by a Brew House. Of course one of the big differences when the ship was built (specifically for the asian market) was that the "pool deck" was replaced by Serenity Gardens, an open space, with a couple of smaller pools. This was a lovely area, and deck plans now posted seem to indicate that it is staying that way. Which could be a shock for people who expect a big pool in the centre with circling loungers, but lovely for people who aren't lounge lizards. The Japanese ports we visited were amazing, there were no NCL excursions, as the majority of passengers were with Chinese tour groups, and they all had their own included excursions. This was no problem, as all the ports were easy to self-explore, and as well as visits to historic and cultural sites in Hiroshima, Kochi, Nagasaki and Fukuoka we got to visit Universal Studios Japan (Osaka). The entertainment was first class. We got two of the NCL Production shows - Paradis and Elements, which were a great contract and showed off the talents of the cast; and also some amazing guests artists including magicians from China and aerialists from Russia. Shows were packed every performance (3 show per day), and were filled with an enthusiastic audience. Overall, we couldn't fault the service on board. Signage, and announcements were in Mandarin and English, and everyone was particularly friendly to the Aussie foreigners. It is a shame that the cruises weren't promoted more globally, I think with the opportunity, a lot more people could have enjoyed this beautiful ship and the wonders of Japan and China. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2018
We did the 16 night cruise from Tokyo to Shanghai with an excellent itinerary. Access to public transport from all the ports was easy and readily available. Embarking and disembarking was relatively easy and all went very smoothly except ... Read More
We did the 16 night cruise from Tokyo to Shanghai with an excellent itinerary. Access to public transport from all the ports was easy and readily available. Embarking and disembarking was relatively easy and all went very smoothly except for Hong Kong. The ship ported in HK at 11AM. Apparently. some passengers did not have visas for China so no one could disembark until that was sorted out. We got off the ship at 3PM and had to queue over an hour for the shuttle buses as there were only three. The entertainment on board was very good and varied. We did not do any excursions arranged by NCL as we manged to travel around easily on our own using local taxis and trains. We had a mid ship Oceanview stateroom which was an adequate size for two people. We were on the right hand side of the ship, avoid this side if you can, as it docks on this side and can be very noisy on port days. We received an excellent service from all staff especially in the restaurants and the reception desk. The standard of the food was average, Holland & America had better quality food and presentation. Please find attached some of the daily itineraries. Great cruise to see the Sakura blossom. I suggest you download the Travel Japan Wifi app before you travel on the Cruise if you want to use free WiFi in the ports. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2018
We opted for this one as the price was a little bit down, it hit some new ports for us, and we were able to link up with our son at the Kobe port. While the ship is not new and shows its age here and there, we had a good cabin (standard ... Read More
We opted for this one as the price was a little bit down, it hit some new ports for us, and we were able to link up with our son at the Kobe port. While the ship is not new and shows its age here and there, we had a good cabin (standard outside, deck 4) and were happy with the general experience. We took the perks at sea package and had 4 dinners for two at the specialty restaurants plus $50 off each person's tour at all of the ports. Also we got 250 internet minutes and 2 hours of ship to USA calls. We used all of these perks, even made some doctor appointments back home. The food at the upgrade restaurants was very good, especially at Cagneys where the filet was great. We also used the French restaurant, but liked Cagneys better. As to the dining rooms and the Lido, we found them to be good, but not great. Like most cruises, some items were very good and others just so-so. Service was OK, and the buffet was clean and appetizing. I recall that there were 12 port days on the 15 day cruise. We naturally used the ship tours for about 9 ports, but at Kobe we made independent tours that included the castle at Hemiji and the Kobe city zoo or animal preserve. We rate both of these as top notch. Overall, we really enjoyed the trip. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2018
We chose this cruise primarily because of the most interesting itinerary. This cruise started in Yokohama Japan, and ended in Shanghai, China however we continued with the next two cruise segments through Alaska to disembark in Seattle. ... Read More
We chose this cruise primarily because of the most interesting itinerary. This cruise started in Yokohama Japan, and ended in Shanghai, China however we continued with the next two cruise segments through Alaska to disembark in Seattle. The Orient was new for us and it was a " port intensive " sailing visiting 6 port cities in Japan, 2 in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and 2 in China with only 2 sea days. In Kobe, and Hong Kong we enjoyed overnight stays and two days in each city. The cruise was enjoyable, and cabins and ship clean​,​ it is dated and wear is showing.... It is scheduled for a major drydock retrofit in October 2018. Food was reasonable throughout the varied ship restaurants. We noticed most restaurant food was only warm - the exception being the Garden Cafe upon opening. One of the most significant concerns remains " head office control " limiting the chefs ability to vary menus, and provide culinary cuisine more reflective of the Asian area of travel. While it is nice to not deal with the logistics of transport, and accommodation in this variety of cities, we did miss out on experiencing the local Japanese cuisine in more depth. Entertainment was varied and of reasonably good quality. However the absence of any entertainment reflective of the oriental culture, " enrichment programs " c​ultural , basic language , or port information was disappointing. Onboard activities have been severely curtailed, and the focus was clearly on NCL Shore excursions,​ and selling additional spa, dining, or health services. Most shore excursions were full bus loads of 50 people with a single often untrained guide. The accent, and limited English language, of the guides were often a limiting factor to the full enjoyment of the tour. We found tour​ options were limited to very traditional tourist sightseeing,​ and they varied widely in quality and value. As all locations were new to us, and due to the language and cultural challenges, we booked mostly NCL excursions. Increasingly we discovered more guests using independent guides, or venturing out on their own with taxis, and they were reporting much more satisfying experiences. The process to assemble participants & load the tour buses was often chaotic, with clients arriving late, not queuing respectfully, & not following instructions. Those guests were being rewarded with the best seats on the bus ! Frankly the waiting and disorganization caused many tours to be less than enjoyable. Communication issues with customs & immigration , & embarkation processes, were experienced, but to be expected with many new ports, and several foreign countries. For the most part staff were genuine and helpful, however there were several examples were it was obvious staff were not allowed to think, and responded accordingly with a " standard answer " even when it made absolutely no sense in the circumstances. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
We did a back to back to back Sydney to Yokohama so this review is for the last leg, Hong Kong to Yokohama. The Jewel is now quite old and in need of a refit but provides a good cruising experience with lounges and restaurants to suit all ... Read More
We did a back to back to back Sydney to Yokohama so this review is for the last leg, Hong Kong to Yokohama. The Jewel is now quite old and in need of a refit but provides a good cruising experience with lounges and restaurants to suit all tastes. Our inside cabin was adequate and our cabin steward did his best. Dining was generally good. The two main restaurants were fine, the buffet (Market cafe) often a scrum but the food was good. The speciality restaurants were good. Service was generally good, some outstanding, some poor. Entertainment became a bit samey but we were on the ship for 40 nights so that was to be expected. Ports on this leg of the cruise were great. We did not take any NCL excursions but seldom heard anything good from those who did take them so this is an area on this ship that NCL should look carefully at. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
We chose this cruise because of its itinerary (China & Japan were top of our list). Unfortunately, the itinerary changed several times before our departure, which took some of the shine off it (particularly the loss of an overnight ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of its itinerary (China & Japan were top of our list). Unfortunately, the itinerary changed several times before our departure, which took some of the shine off it (particularly the loss of an overnight stop at Beijing, which left us with very little time in between travelling from and to the port where the ship was docked), and the removal of a stop in South Korea (although this one was down to Chinese legislation) Embarkation was a bit of a nightmare, previous cruises we have been on, after checking in we have moved into a seperate 'holding area' waiting to board, but on this occasion everybody seemed to be hanging around together, making things rather confusing, blocking routes, etc. Once onboard things did improve, with the good points being as follows:- The public areas were always clean, the entertainment was very good compared to other cruises we have been on, and the bars and restaurants were plentiful and well stocked. One huge plus was the freedom dining, which allowed us to eat at whatever time we desired, with quite a few options to choose from (we were a group of 4 and we only had to wait once for a table, and that was for less than 10 minutes at one of the smaller complimentary restaurants). However, there were some negatives, as follows:- We had pre-booked some speciality restaurants prior to the cruise, but when we attended our first booking we were told that ALL online reservations had been lost (somewhere in cyber space no doubt). They did accommodate us on that first date, but only after a 40 minute wait and a gentle reminder from me that we were still waiting for a table. This first visit to was 3 days into the cruise, surely they would have known by that time that there was a problem with online reservations, and surely they could have made some sort of announcement...?? (our other reservations were re-booked, and all 4 restaurants we ate in were excellent, so no complaints after that initial problem) Some of the bar staff were a little rude, especially when my wife went to the bar (we have never come accross this on previous cruises, where 99.9% of bar staff have been brilliant) and a few of the customer service staff were even worse (not very helpful at all, in fact) The cabin, although adequate, was difficult to manouevre around, and the overhead bunk was a nightmare for me as I banged my shoulder on it many times when getting out of bed, despite it being 'stowed away'. The cruise ship's policy for passing through customs in Japan left a lot to be desired. It was explained through a flyer that every passenger required a 'face to face' inspection with a customs officer (pretty standard stuff at most ports, airports etc, you'd think). but the ship decided it was so complicated, we were to disembark at our first stop at pre-determined intervals, starting with the upper decks and working down to the lower decks. Great if your cabin was on deck 13 or 14, not so great if your cabin was on deck 5, like ours. If we had stuck to the ships plan, we would have been doing our 'face to face' (i.e. going through customs) over 2 and a half hours after the first passengers were allowed off. As we had pre-booked a private tour (costing a lot of money) I visited customer services to inform them that our party WOULD be leaving the boat at the time we had agreed to meet our tour guide (i.e. the time which NCL had said we would be docking at the port and allowing people off). After declining a 'free phonecall' to our guide to say we would be over 2 hours late, followed by several visits to the desk, and a refusal to give in (hence the comment earlier about the unhelpful staff) it was agreed to let us off earlier than our 'scheduled' time (but we were asked not to advertise the fact, so as not to upset other passengers on lower decks I presume!). One other thing, which didn't affect us but needs mentioning, was the lack of information provided by NCL prior to the cruise with regards visas. Fortunately we had done some research beforehand, and knew we needed visas, but there were several people onboard who could not leave the boat whilst in China because they didn't. One couple, we heard, were in their 80's and it had been their lifelong ambition to visit China but, because they were unaware that a visa was required, they had to stay on the boat. We also heard that another couple had even been turned away at the airport, so they didn't even get to go on the cruise. Can't say for certain if these stories are true, but I do know there were an awful lot of people stuck onboard while we were in China. Now it could be said that it was the passengers fault for not doing their research (and I agree to a certain extent), but we did a cruise last year to Thailand and Vietnam (similar countries to China and Japan in my opinion) and all the visas for that trip were sorted by the cruise ship (we just had to deposit our passports, and our cruise card effectively became our visa and passport). To be truthfully honest, I thought it would be exactly the same on this cruise, and it was only through a stroke of luck that we discovered a visa for China was required, otherwise we would have also been trapped onboard. So I can fully understand why some people may have not known they needed a visa. Surely an email from NCL a month or two before the cruise would easily have solved this problem, or at least made everybody aware? I've rambled on about the negatives but to be honest, we still had a fabulous time, and the cruise ship was generally great. Nothing is ever perfect, but most of the issues above could have been avoided, which would have made this cruise almost ... Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
We have sailed on Norwegian many times. I really enjoy the Jewel Class ships. When I saw this itinerary I was excited. The ship itself is showing its wear but I believe it is up for dry dock after it goes to Alaska this season. You ... Read More
We have sailed on Norwegian many times. I really enjoy the Jewel Class ships. When I saw this itinerary I was excited. The ship itself is showing its wear but I believe it is up for dry dock after it goes to Alaska this season. You couldn't beat the itinerary. We started in Singapore has two stops in Thailand and three in Vietnam before ending on Hong Kong. I had done some research on the port before we started so I know most of them were industrial and we would need to be bused to any sightseeing or cities. Knowing this going in was helpful. This isn't like the Caribbean where you can just walk off the ship and everything is there. We did ship tours for all the stop except Bangkok. We were glad we had ship tour for the tender ports. No worry about getting tender tickets and making it to your private excursions. NCL did a good job with the tours themselves. The guides spoke very good English. We heard some private tours were not easy to understand. We however could have been provided water on the excursions. We were told we could not take water off the ship and were not offered any during the tour or be directed where to buy some. It was hot so water was essential. The nightly shows were top notch. There were two Burn the Floor performances. I was surprised at that because I thought they were only on the Breakaway class ships. I was a bit disappointed in the nightly cruise staff directed game shows. I generally really enjoy them and they seemed to be lacking on this ship. It was an older crowd so I understand the evening entertainment was directed towards them but the pace of the entertainment other than the nightly theater show was very slow. The food on the ship was good. I wouldn't say gourmet but that wasn't my expectation. We ate at Cagney's and Modero with our Latitudes benefit. Generally we don't pay for the specialty restaurants and would not have if it had not been free. If you are meat eater Modero and Cagney's is pretty good. I really enjoy their salad bar and sides. But for us paying extra for it is just not worth it. For some it probably is. We never had to wait at the main dining room. We generally ate about 6PM. We saw lines a little later but it appeared to be moving quickly. Overall it was a great trip. We enjoyed see all the different cultures at all the ports. We have already booked our next cruise with NCL. I know these ports were new to them so they were learning how to navigate. I give the staff props for getting out passports back to us the night before the cruise ended. They cleared customs with Hong Kong on the ship so basically we got our luggage and walked off the ship. Very easy Read Less
Sail Date: March 2018
We did back to back to back Sydney to Yokohama so this review is for the Singapore to Hong Kong part of the cruise. By this time we had had a poor experience Sydney to Singapore. Luckily the Hotel Director Claus left the ship and a new one ... Read More
We did back to back to back Sydney to Yokohama so this review is for the Singapore to Hong Kong part of the cruise. By this time we had had a poor experience Sydney to Singapore. Luckily the Hotel Director Claus left the ship and a new one arrived - Stephen - who was much better. He immediately realised that he had inherited a poor cruise and set about changes which improved the quality of the experience, arranging back to back events and generally sorting out the tendering and port arrangements. We had a much better experience, back to the usual standard we expect from NCL. The ship is in need of a refurb - planned - but generally the experience was good. Cabin was good for an inside. Steward good. Most of the crew were excellent, a few poor experiences but thats how it goes. Entertainment could be improved substantially - 'Dan the Man' not quite the invisible man as he can be but he was also new (from Sydney) so perhaps inherited a poor plan. Our own planned shore excursions were great, NCLs not so and the onboard team needs to be broken up and refreshed. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2018
we booked this cruise because it was a great price and an itinerary we had done before and really enjoyed pros We have done many cruises but never NCL, I have to say we were pleasantly surprised embarkation was quick and efficient in ... Read More
we booked this cruise because it was a great price and an itinerary we had done before and really enjoyed pros We have done many cruises but never NCL, I have to say we were pleasantly surprised embarkation was quick and efficient in Sydney, the ship was lovely and easy to get around I didn't really notice too many signs of wear and tear.The inside cabin was very small the smallest we have experienced but it was adequate there was plenty of storage the bed was comfy and the bathroom large with a proper shower screen. Food generally was very good with plenty of choice we did not use the specialty restaurants Entertainment was good Burn the Floor were amazing with standing ovations at all the shows the best show I have seen on a cruise ship, the singer 24 Karat was also excellent we found the service to be good and apart from 2 exceptions the staff were very friendly and helpful, sometimes a little slow to get served at busy times particularly on sea days we did our own thing in the ports so I cant comment on ships excursions cons food in the buffet not very hot at times getting a sun bed on sea days was a nightmare there were people on sunbeds at 6.30am we called it sunbed wars! tendering was very slow in some ports but I dont know what the answer is when getting over 2,000 people off a ship, we had to get up very early to get tender tickets Overall we had a fantastic time I would cruise with NCL again Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
The cruise was a great experience with some superb destinations. The ship is in pretty decent condition but is probably ready for the re-fit due later this year. Food in the restaurants was average at best, its the same menu in Tsars ... Read More
The cruise was a great experience with some superb destinations. The ship is in pretty decent condition but is probably ready for the re-fit due later this year. Food in the restaurants was average at best, its the same menu in Tsars and Azura and was often bland and not hot enough. We finished the cruise using the buffet (Garden Cafe) as there was lots of choice and we could generally find something we liked. We paid for the upgrade restaurants on four occasions and found them to be excellent, well worth the premium paid. The shows in the Stardust theatre were generally good but were excellent when the ships own dance troop and singers performed. I can't speak highly enough of their shows - Broadway standards!! The drinks package is awesome, lots of choice of beers, cocktails and premium spirits. A couple of bad things:- On sea days, we were unable to secure a sun lounger as they had all been reserved by guests who got up early and saved them them with their towels. It was extremely annoying to see the same selfish people in the prime spots every sea day. (even though NCL had signs up saying sun loungers should not be reserved, this was not enforced) We had a number of destinations that could only be reached by Tender, the Tendering process was abysmal, they didn't seem to have enough Tender boats, the tender allocation process was shambolic and all this resulted in it taking up to 2.5 hours to reach shore after we arrived at the destination. I like a punt in the Casino but didn't bother as the minimum wager was too high ($10) and most of the tables were empty for most of the time. It was our first NCL cruise and we would cruise NCL again but they have some glaring issues they could easily resolve. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
This cruise was a lot of B2B trips. I did the 29 days from Sydney to Hong Kong. I was a single traveler, so got inside cabin on 10th deck. Menguel was my expert Steward. A lot of the ports were tendering ports. That means a lot of me-me, ... Read More
This cruise was a lot of B2B trips. I did the 29 days from Sydney to Hong Kong. I was a single traveler, so got inside cabin on 10th deck. Menguel was my expert Steward. A lot of the ports were tendering ports. That means a lot of me-me, pushing & shoving. Ships staff can’t comment or interfere with this type of behavior. They just smile & say, they’re sorry & doing best they can. Just plan ahead & get out early. Don’t ruin your fabulous vacation by getting upset over things you have no control over. It’ll work out fine. Ports were AMAZING. I guess new cruises will have overnight in Hong Kong as well. I did 4 days early in Sydney & 4 days post in Hong Kong. I was the most surprised in Vietnam ports. Loved Singapore. I had excellent guides. They really went into details for us. We used shoreexcursionsasia.com. Best tours, best prices. No need to convert currency in all countries. Only Australia, Singapore, & Hong Kong. All others wanted US dollars. Don’t need to overpack. Ship offered $19.99 bag laundry service. Duct tape your bag for strength & cram it full. You’ll cross the equator, so get ready for a fabulous Toga party. Food was what you’d expect on a cruise. This ships passengers average age was 63. Only 17 kids. Very laid back. Loved it. Take underwater camera. The beaches are amazing. I snorkeled GBR 2Xs, & snorkeled the beautiful pink beach on Komodo, Indonesia. AMAZING!!! Take poncho & sun screen. Definitely a hat. I love my new backbush Australian hat. Shows were so so. I’m not into the loud type of shows. So, only went to ones that interested me. Shore excursions main man, Marcus, was a delight. He tried to get people to understand the tendering rules, but they didn’t listen. I’d do it again in a heartbeat. Read Less
26 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
We wanted the all-immersive Chinese atmosphere this cruise ship offered. We also wanted to visit its home port, Shanghai, and the 3 Japanese ports. The ship is new, and we also wanted the 'new ship' experience. Exploring Shanghai ... Read More
We wanted the all-immersive Chinese atmosphere this cruise ship offered. We also wanted to visit its home port, Shanghai, and the 3 Japanese ports. The ship is new, and we also wanted the 'new ship' experience. Exploring Shanghai was great, a never-ending excursion of its own. Embarkation was a little slow, but then there were thousands boarding. Took about 1,5 hours. We had a great balcony cabin aft, wonderful views. No problems in the cabin. We were overwhelmed by an engaged crew (we spent our anniversary at sea and they really spoiled us). And to our surprise, complimentary breakfast in the cabin was offered daily. Some things we missed: No laundry promotion as on other Norwegian ships (one bag laundered for a price). Inexplicably, the fitness room was tiny, and it was crammed with users most of the day. And although we heard there had been Tai Chi classes on previous cruises, there were none on ours. The food in the buffet was disappointing, and if you are not prepared for ordinary Chinese table manners, better read up before hand; although the service was excellent. The food in the one specialty restaurant we went to (some kind of Fusion cuisine) was good, the service was excellent, and the food was prepared and appeared within minutes of ordering. The quality of the show was good. We were particularly impressed by the decor, especially the art work on display. We did not partake of shore excursions, since they were not bookable in advance for English speakers (the ship language was Mandarin). So we had made other arrangements prior. But there were free or very cheap shuttles (in Hiroshima, you have to change from shuttle to the train, so we opted for taxi). We travelled without children, but there were more children on this cruise than I've seen on 6 other cruises I've been on. In fact, it was the youngest group. It seemed many families were travelling with several generations. The many computer and virtual (4D, etc.) offers are certainly great for the youngsters, less for us. However, the Japanese cities were enough to keep us busy. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
The ship visited some great ports. This was the second leg of a 57 day cruise on the Norwegian Star. Embarkation off the ship as a transit passengdr was very badly managed. We had the Internet package and as we expected from reviews, it ... Read More
The ship visited some great ports. This was the second leg of a 57 day cruise on the Norwegian Star. Embarkation off the ship as a transit passengdr was very badly managed. We had the Internet package and as we expected from reviews, it was very slow and many minutes wasting logging on. We missed quiet spaces like the lovely observation lounge we had on the Sun. People were often taking up seats in the food areas to play cards. Norwegian still allow ppl to save seats/loungers at the poolside by leaving their towels and books despite their rule that seats cannot be reserved for more than an hour which in itself is a ridiculouslyrics long time. The meals were generally very good but I would not recommend O'sheehans except for a couple of their specials and a late night drink. Our cabin steward Emil was awesome. He had an eye for detail and had everything in our cabin topped up before we ever had to ask. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
First time wth NCL, but done many cruises before. Not a good start with the azipod issue and went from 7 ports to only 3. Extremely disappointing especially as we did not go to the ports we all really wanted to go to. However, we decided ... Read More
First time wth NCL, but done many cruises before. Not a good start with the azipod issue and went from 7 ports to only 3. Extremely disappointing especially as we did not go to the ports we all really wanted to go to. However, we decided to go ahead with the cruise and glad we did. The ship itself is old and creaky especially at night when trying to sleep, but it is still beautiful and has many lovely areas. Cabins. Had a balcony cabin and it had everything we needed. Quite small compared to some cabins we have had but it was fine and very clean. Entertainment. Fantastic shows by the entertainment team, some of the best we have ever seen on a ship. Plenty of different bands and singers to suit most tastes. Great NYE party on deck. Only thing missing was some comedy and perhaps a piano entertainer. Staff. Very friendly staff. However did not find guest services helpful nor the shore excursion staff who told me different things about the refunds for our excursions that were cancelled. Still have not got my money back now !! Ports. Did Hue which was fine, Bangkok and Ho Chi Minh, the latter two were excellent. Food. Brillant food in the dining room, the Brazilian restaurant and the buffet. Osheehans was ok. Good things about NCL. There are a few things that NCL do really well and we really liked compared to other cruise lines. E.g.-loved 'washy washy' -made you want to wash your hands ! Like the layout out of the market cafe, easy to navigate, plenty of tables and liked that there was cutlery and sauce on the tables ready for you. Also liked the BBQs on sea days and the paella and seafood on offer then too. Not so good things about NCL. - should stop guests entering the theatre when the shows have started. Having a constant stream of people arriving late and interrupting your viewing is annoying and rude and should not happen. The safety drill was shocking. I have never seen anything like it. Half the boat did not bother doing it and they allowed movement on and off the ship whilst it happened. We were on the deck and everyone was talking and we could not hear or see the demonstration. Very very poor. Shore excursions - first ship I have been on where they do excursions by putting everyone in the theatre and then you have to get your sticker on the way out. We had a delay on one exursion as we all had to wait for all the buses, if they did it the normal way by numbering you with your bus as you went in, it would be more effective and quicker. Just a suggestion! The salon, had my hair cut and not only was it the most expensive haircut of my life at $90 but was the worst. Looks like it has been hacked to pieces. Never again. Overall a good cruise although I'm still awaiting for my shore excursion refund and my refund for half the cruise back as promised. I hope the delay in this and the poor communication I have received so far from NCL, will not damper too much my thoughts on what was, a good cruise despite the itinary changes. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
We chose this cruise as it went to some interesting places which we would not otherwise have traveled to such as Taiwan and Cambodia and also because my husband had been to Vietnam but I had not. Unfortunately due to Azipod problems on ... Read More
We chose this cruise as it went to some interesting places which we would not otherwise have traveled to such as Taiwan and Cambodia and also because my husband had been to Vietnam but I had not. Unfortunately due to Azipod problems on the ship our itinerary was modified and we only got to visit Chan May and Phy My in Vietnam and Laem Chabang in Thailand but received a generous discount in lieu of this. Overall the cruise was good. Embarkation was a bit of a shambles. We had arrived early in the morning so had to wait for check-in at 11am which was fine as we had expected this. Check-in went smoothly however once checked in we could not board the ship as it was not ready. This resulted in a significant amount of people all waiting to board and although we had been given numbered sections to board by many people disregarded this and the ground staff did not enforce it well. I would have been happier to wait a bit longer for check-in to open if we could have walked straight from there to boarding thus eliminating the long queues at security. Once on board the staff looked after us well. The service in the restaurants was great and cabin service was also excellent. Food in the complimentary restaurants was a little bland for us but that is to be expected with so many tastes to accommodate. We didn't try any of the specialist restaurants as the variety in the main dining rooms suited us. The layout of the ship is different to others we have been on and one disappointment was that there was no lounge at the front of the ship where you could relax and have a view outside but the lounges and bars were good and well placed around the ship. The entertainment on the ship was excellent and we attended most of the shows. Good variety of acts and also good variety of entertainment in the bars. Of note were the two ladies playing the violin and cello in lounges around the ship who were exceptional. Pools were nice with our favourite being the spa pool situated up the front of the ship giving you a view of where you were going. Main pool was a bit cold for us but we did venture in on one day which was particularly hot. As mentioned earlier we only got to three ports. Something to note with this itinerary (in particular our three ports) is that the boat docks a long way from the city at industrial ports so there is nothing at or close to the port to look at. Ho Chi Minh and Bangkok are both 2 hours drive from the port. We booked a tour of Hoi An which gave us some time to ourselves and we enjoyed looking around the old town and markets. We also booked 'on your own' tours of Ho Chi Minh and Bangkok which gave us 5-6 hours in each city to look around. Shore excursions were easy to book and you were off and onto the buses reasonably efficiently. Overall we really enjoyed it despite the missed ports and extra days at sea. Read Less
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