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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
Had a wonderful cruise with many good memories. Thanks NCL !!! Our room was perfect for our needs. Clean and organized and the beds were very comfortable. Excursions were very well organized and evening ship activities were great. Had ... Read More
Had a wonderful cruise with many good memories. Thanks NCL !!! Our room was perfect for our needs. Clean and organized and the beds were very comfortable. Excursions were very well organized and evening ship activities were great. Had lots of fun ! Loved the Karaoke and made many new friends. Evening entertainment in the Stardust Theatre was a nice way to start the evenings and dancing to the great bands on board was a perfect way to end our evenings. Enjoyed relaxing with a cocktail in the many lounges. Loved the fact that no formal dress code was required. Lots of restaurants to choose from with delicious food. The buffet had a huge variety of food to choose from. Loved the washy washy staff. Took advantage of the spa. Nice treat ! Bar waiters were great. Days at sea were warm and relaxing. Just what we needed. Thoroughly enjoyed our vacation. Would definitely recommend NCL to others. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
We had never cruised with NCL before but will definitely go with them again! Having boarded in Singapore, we could not believe how well the ship's crew catered for such a broad range of clients! The food was terrific and ... Read More
We had never cruised with NCL before but will definitely go with them again! Having boarded in Singapore, we could not believe how well the ship's crew catered for such a broad range of clients! The food was terrific and although we usually avoid the buffet, we actually loved it for therange and quality of food offered. The steakhouse restaurant was delicious too! We booked one shore excursion with the ship which was comparable in cost to the other twoI had booked independently for other ports. The standard of entertainment was fantastic! Again, nailed it as far as appealing to many different cultures and ages on board. Although this was an older ship to some of the ones we have been on before, it was impeccably maintained and the ambience in the smaller restaurants and bars was spot on. This was also smaller than some of the other ships we have experienced which gave it a more personal feel. Definitely recommend this trip to others! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
This is part 2 of a 5 cruises on the Jewel. We traveled all the way from Vancouver to Sydney via Alaska, Russia, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Australia and New Zealand. There was a ... Read More
This is part 2 of a 5 cruises on the Jewel. We traveled all the way from Vancouver to Sydney via Alaska, Russia, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Australia and New Zealand. There was a 2 week gap while the Jewel was in dry dock in Singapore, so there were some changes in decor. Of course, there were also crew and entertainment changes along the way. The itinerary of the cruise was amazing. We particularly chose it because of the many ports. Some of the ports are a long way from cities and some use tenders, but if you are prepared for that and have appropriate expectations, this could be the best itinerary of all. The crew was by far the best feature of the Jewel. We have been on many cruises with different cruise lines on different ships. The friendliness and cooperative attitude of the Jewel crew is the best we have experienced. When you are on a ship for as long as we were, there are bound to be issues that crop up. The attitude of the crew can make or break the experience. We were on-board with a number of Cruise Critic members and the ship's group services coordinator always made efforts to facilitate our gatherings and excursions. The Hotel Director (Steven) and his senior staff always made the effort to meet and welcome us. We know that the relationship is complicated as we do publicly review their cruises, but often organize excursions outside of the NCL offerings. We were never made to feel anything but welcome and supported. The cabin (inside) was well laid out and comfortable. The bathroom with a real sliding shower door was better than most. Unfortunately, the partial refurbishment in dry dock left them with a less attractive mix of decors. However, the added USB chargers and improved TV's were good. The dining was good. We mostly ate in Tsar's Palace and the Garden Cafe. Unfortunately, the food taste was not up to the excellent quality of the service in either location. Certainly, we were able to find meals that we liked, but there is just some missing richness to the flavour. There is an overabundance of Indian dishes in the Garden Cafe relative to the demographics of the passengers. Cagney's and Le Bistro are a step up in food quality, but at a premium cost. La Cuchina also demands an up-charge, but without the added quality. O'Sheehan's is convenient, but not very tasty pub grub. Since we were B2B, the embarkation was easy. Unfortunately, NCL didn't provide much in the way of excursions to Tokyo for passengers continuing on. Therefore, I arranged an excursion and had 6 others join us through Cruise Critic. There were the usual variety of enrichment activities (demonstrations, discussions and presentations), but it would have been nice to have more in the way of cultural descriptions in anticipation of the ports we called at. The entertainment on NCL is always good and the Jewel was no exception. The singers and dancers in the production crew are a step up and the singers are capable dancers for the most part. The other entertainers were on a par with what you get in-between the production shows on any cruise line. There was a bounty of other musical performers in many other venues, such that there was choice and quality throughout most afternoons and evenings. There were a range of styles, so you had a choice based on location and most performers had different themes on occasion. The fitness center has replaced all the treadmills and ellipticals in dry dock, so they are all new now. For the most part, there are enough to meet the demands, but it did get busy at times. The staff/crew is/are the best thing about the cruise. Always smiling and friendly (except the security staff for reasons I don't understand), they make what could otherwise be an average experience great. The public rooms are certainly adequate for the size of the ship. Many were partially refurbished in dry dock. I think that they would have been better off completely refurbishing some of the areas rather than partially refurbishing many of the areas. It left some areas with a mismatch of the old and new decor. Both the cabin stewards and dining area staff tried to provide excellent service and were mostly successful. The flexible dining approach can leave you being passed between waiters in the main dining room if you arrive early, but they handle it well with good communication between the wait staff. The excursions were good, but always expensive relative to other cruise lines or independent arrangements. I think that this is because many NCL promotions provide excursion discounts, but even with the discounts they are more expensive than non-discounted fares from their competitors. Overall, we were satisfied with the value for the money, but that is because we know what we are looking for and know that our priorities are a good match for NCL. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2018
I would like to share my experience with Norwegian Cruise line regarding our trip to China/Japan. The reason I chose this cruise was because of the reasonable price verses other cruise agencies for the same location. I had never cruised ... Read More
I would like to share my experience with Norwegian Cruise line regarding our trip to China/Japan. The reason I chose this cruise was because of the reasonable price verses other cruise agencies for the same location. I had never cruised with Norwegian and would highly recommend them to anyone. Their staff cannot be beat! Everyone was friendly and went out of their way to make certain we had a wonderful trip. We did! Pros: GREAT STAFF! Very attentive and fun, plenty of activities when at sea, excursions well organized, disembarkation fantastic! Off the ship to catch our plane in plenty of time. Best price for China/Japan and excursion locations. Staff made certain everyone entering the buffet used hand sanitizer. Staff at O'Sheehan's was so much fun I would return just to be with them again! Cons: Embarkation disorganized, would have liked more excursions to choose from (took some private tours). Great time! Hope to cruise with Norwegian again. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
We saw the advertisement for the cruise from Hong Kong to Tokyo via China in the weekend Australian newspaper. The service staff, in the cabins and restaurants, were particularly impressive. Genuine friendliness and welcoming. Extremely ... Read More
We saw the advertisement for the cruise from Hong Kong to Tokyo via China in the weekend Australian newspaper. The service staff, in the cabins and restaurants, were particularly impressive. Genuine friendliness and welcoming. Extremely helpful and obliging - no request was too much or too problematic to carry out. The entertainment in the theatre was of a very high standard - each evening's performance more professional than the previous one. All areas of the ship were clean, well cared for, appealing and comfortable to relax or be entertained in. Especially enjoyed the art education sessions given by Divan from Park West and his very entertaining art auctions. The speciality restaurants, La Cucina, Le Bistro and Cagney's Steakhouse were included in our food package and very worthwhile. Disembarkation and embarkation at each port was smooth and well organised. The reception committee on embarkation were very pleasant, welcoming and friendly. We organised our own shore excursions, so didn't use the ship's excursions. There were absolutely no problems or negative experiences throughout our cruise. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
Loved it! We have never cruised before and, although l was sea sick for most of the time, we had no issues with the boat or the staff. Lovely staff who couldn't do enough for my family, especially my 5 year old twins. My girls ... Read More
Loved it! We have never cruised before and, although l was sea sick for most of the time, we had no issues with the boat or the staff. Lovely staff who couldn't do enough for my family, especially my 5 year old twins. My girls attended the Kids Club, but as there were not many children on board, most of the programs did not run as scheduled. More than enough entertainment to keep you busy each day. We only have 4 sea days, but l never felt bored. I was ore than happy though l use the pool or sit on one of the chairs on the promenade. I heard one couple complain that water was not included in the drinks package, but considering that you could walk down to a bar and grab an ice cold water at any time, l didn't see how that was a big deal. They also mentioned that coffees from the cafe were not included, but l wasn't a fan of the coffees there so that wouldn't bother me! My husband and l were a bit worried about the quality of the food, especially in the buffer (as the videos that we had seen online did not make the food look very appealing) but the restaurants including the Garden Cafe buffet were excellent. Always fresh and so much to chose from. If you could find something that liked to eat, then you weren't trying! We particularly loved Azura's restaurant, excellent food and wonderful service. Our cabin was an inside stateroom. It was only small, as expected but more than enough room to sit around a watch tv. We had a quad room, it there were 2 single beds (pushed together to make a double), a fold down single from the wall and a roll out single. More than enough room! And who wants to sit in their room anyway!!! Overall, l would definitely recommend this boat and particularly this itinerary to others. The countries we visited are some of my favourites (Vietnam, Thailand) and we would happily cruise with NCL again! Thankyou to everyone for a great trip!!! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2017
This being our first cruise, we just didn't know what to expect. I had visions of lots of people and no room to move but it was the opposite even though it was a full cruise so we were very pleased. we had a mid ship balcony ... Read More
This being our first cruise, we just didn't know what to expect. I had visions of lots of people and no room to move but it was the opposite even though it was a full cruise so we were very pleased. we had a mid ship balcony which was quite spacious and had plenty of storage. Suitcases slid under bed which was great. Ample shelves and full size wardrobe. Toilet little cramped but fine. Big shower. Room attendant was wonderful. Bed very comfy. Staff in general super helpful and friendly. Very up to date in regards to health and hygiene. Good medical centre and hand sanitizing everywhere. 'happy happy, washy washy staff at all eating places.... Free style dinning means eat where you like any time. Booking required for a couple of the specialized eateries but there was always the garden buffet which was fantastic and had a huge range of food for breakfast , lunch & dinner. The ship is not huge which is nice. Aproximately 1.40 kms to walk around on the walking track. Lovely art deco style bars and furnishings. Great duty free shop. All the usual things you would expect. Plenty to keep amused with activities etc. We loved it. An older style ship in our opinion but that was what made it charming. Not too over the top like i imagined some cruises might be. I think great for couples and older people but also families as well. 2 pools and kid minding. Well done norwegian cruise line. You got us hooked. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
Chose this cruise for the itinerary and we were not disappointed. Crew was friendly, hard working, and made us feel like valued guests. There were many included food venues which served delicious and varied menus. We especially liked ... Read More
Chose this cruise for the itinerary and we were not disappointed. Crew was friendly, hard working, and made us feel like valued guests. There were many included food venues which served delicious and varied menus. We especially liked O'Sheehans for lunch, although nothing could top the food we received as suite guests in Moderno! The meats and salads were particularly good with excellent flavors and seasonings. Entertainment was super, especially the crew talent show and the crew recognition night. We liked the ship layout and public areas. Elevators were never a problem for us. Didn't miss the lack of flowers or newspapers on board. Our concierge, Hanno, was very helpful and made the whole cruise enjoyable. We felt we got our moneys worth from being in a suite. We chose the special 3-day tour to the Taj Mahal and is was worth every penny. Well organized with a quality hotel. Got to spend many hours in Agra. Ship tours were as good as any we've taken on other cruises. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
We thoroughly enjoyed our cruise on the Star. We are big fans of the freestyle dining and the options available to you. Food was always enjoyable either in the restaurants, buffet, Ginza or O'Sheehans. We enjoy being able to eat ... Read More
We thoroughly enjoyed our cruise on the Star. We are big fans of the freestyle dining and the options available to you. Food was always enjoyable either in the restaurants, buffet, Ginza or O'Sheehans. We enjoy being able to eat when and where we feel like it. The crew were amazing. Always so helpful, friendly and going out of their way to ensure you were happy. Embarkation for us was fine as we were Gold customers but I do believe that some people queued for 3.5 hours, I'm guessing it's an issue for Singapore to deal with. We chose to do the majority of excursions through NCL, bearing in mind four ports were in India and we didn't want to risk the traffic. We did our own think in Colombo and of course got ripped off by the Tuk Tuk driver. Couldn't fault any of the excursions we did, we enjoyed them all. The ports were amazing and I hope NCL repeat this cruise as I would do it again and do different shore excursions. We only went to a few of the shows and those that we did we thoroughly enjoyed usually the guests artists. The gym was usually quite busy and most of the time I chose do walk up in the fresh air. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2017
I apologize for the long winded review!! It was a whirlwind trip. We booked this cruise at the last minute ... as the Star Princess FLOATED in the Indian Ocean without any propulsion. LOL For those of you that don't know this story, ... Read More
I apologize for the long winded review!! It was a whirlwind trip. We booked this cruise at the last minute ... as the Star Princess FLOATED in the Indian Ocean without any propulsion. LOL For those of you that don't know this story, BOTH Azipods on the Norwegian Star lost propulsion and the ship floated at sea for several days, before being pulled / tugged into Melbourne Australia where the Azipods were replaced. That apparently is a completely different story. ha Anyway - we had no intention of going on this cruise. It was one of life's little "gifts". I suspect they lost quite a few passengers during the engine trouble. I think a number of people cancelled and disembarked. Anyway - I got a last minute email with a great price. A deal I could not refuse. We had always wanted to go to India - but didn't know where to start - and this itinerary looked amazing. So we took a gamble! Hoping and praying that by the time we embarked in Singapore, the ship would be in tip top shape. It was a bit nerve wracking to say the least (from booking until boarding) but once we were on board the ship, this cruise was AMAZING. The ship had been very well tended to while in dry dock in Melbourne. Everything was spiffed up. Fresh paint everywhere. Everything was squeaky clean, and the engines were smooth as silk :) I do believe this was the smoothest sailing we have ever been on. Most days, you couldn't tell we were moving! The itinerary was unbelievable. We would do this cruise again 10 more times. We were both like 5 year old kids at Disneyland. Every port was exhilarating. 13 ports in 18 days. We were completely exhausted, but over the moon happy. My feet hurt from walking and my cheeks hurt from smiling. We have traveled to many Asian countries (just about all) but we had not been to India and Sri Lanka. I don't know what I was expecting. But those two countries were nothing like I expected, in the BEST WAY POSSIBLE. The people were FABULOUS. The food was amazing. Everyone was so kind and welcoming. Nothing at all like the notion I had preconceived in my mind. I was prepared for disgusting. It was not disgusting - at all. The food was great. We chose nice looking places to snack and ate with the locals. (not from street carts) We were not overwhelmed with poverty and begging. (but that doesn't bother me) I am so grateful to be where I am, I am happy to help this one and that one. Anyway!! We loved every stop. We had four ports of call in India, and every stop was unbelievable. Cochin (Kerala) Goa, Mangalore, and Mumbai. We did Cruise Critic tours in Kerala and Mumbai and hailed a cab in Goa and Mangalore. I was so sad to leave India. Yes, we will go back!! But the place that surprised us the most was Colombo, Sri Lanka. About a week before we left for Singapore, I found a tour guide online that responded to my email right away and gave me a VERY good price. He even called us again before we left the US to confirm. Very professional. There was very little information available about Colombo, so he was also another little "gift" on this trip. Since Colombo is not listed on the Cruise Critic drop down menu of ports, I am leaving his information in my review. I hope this helps some folks stopping in Colombo. The driver/guide's name is Dilhan. His company is Dilhan's Awesome Adventures. His site is http://www.DilhansAwesomeAdventures.com. Oh my gosh, we had the MOST amazing day in Sri Lanka with Dilhan. Way too much to tell. We had no Sri Lankan money with us, and he happily bought us lunch and ice cream. Back at the port, we paid for the tour and tipped him (a small amount) but he would not take the money for lunch. He was very gracious and kind. The ship offered 3 tours in Colombo (I think) and we went to every place that was on the ships tours, and a lot more for about 1/3 the price. LOL. If anyone's ship is stopping in Colombo, Sri Lanka, you need to contact this guy. He's amazing. I was sad to read the negative reviews about Oman and Fujairah, as that was not our experience AT ALL. We had a total blast in every single port. We took Cruise Critic tours again in Oman and got a cab in Fujairah. All three days were wonderful. In Oman, the Oman private guard at the Sultan's private restaurant (near the Opera house) opened up the restaurant for us to take a peek and photos! Unbelievable. I have such amazing memories. Abu Dhabi was difficult (thanks to Big Bus) lol. But Dubai was fabulous. This cruise was absolutely the most memorable cruise of our life and we are blessed to have done 54 cruises so far ~ YES!! ~100% ~ if I ever find this sailing again, I hope to be first in line. If you have the chance to do this itinerary, don't think twice, Pretend you're 25 and go!! You can rest when you get back home. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2017
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary. we have cruised with ncl before but not on the star, this was a smaller ship for us. The whole experience was fantastic. The itinerary was one of the best we have had, we loved all the ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary. we have cruised with ncl before but not on the star, this was a smaller ship for us. The whole experience was fantastic. The itinerary was one of the best we have had, we loved all the places we went to especially Colombo, Malaysia and India. The ship was very nice, had plenty to do. The entertainment was really good especially in the theatre and the spinnaker in the evenings.The staff were all so friendly. The food was fantastic, there are so many places you can go and eat and they were all good. Special thank you to Michael who looked after us at the pool side bar and to our cabin boy. We meet so many lovely people especially those who were on our roll call on cruise critic. It was one of our best holidays. We would definitely cruise again with ncl and the star Read Less
24 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
This is my second review, but this time focusing on the tours. NCL did a great job putting together tour options in an effort to satisfy a variety of interests. I heard only a few gripes (and I'm not sure these folks would have been ... Read More
This is my second review, but this time focusing on the tours. NCL did a great job putting together tour options in an effort to satisfy a variety of interests. I heard only a few gripes (and I'm not sure these folks would have been happy with anything anyway.) This cruise started in Auckland, NZ and visited Bay of Islands. We stopped in Australia (Sidney, Port Kembla, Airlie Beach, Darwin, and Cairns), Indonesia (Komodo Island, Bali), Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur), and ended in Singapore. I selected NCL highlights tours in each port. Port Kembla was a wonderful surprise. The Star was the 4th ship to use this evolving tourist spot. The city came out in full force to help cruisers get around, including giving rides to see the area. We went there as part of an itinerary change that substituted Port Kembla for Brisbane. (See multiple reports of earlier Star engine problems the prior couple of months.) Feedback from cruisers was very positive. Rough seas made the Great Barrier Reef tours a bit dicey for some with some disappointment depending on the location. Just seeing the Australian locations was a reward all by itself. Some folks visited the inside of the Sidney Opera House and heard a little bit of the orchestra rehearsal! Great timing! I opted for the Sidney Harbor Cruise Tour and it was worth every penny! Besides anything in Australia, the visit to Komodo Island was memorable for the hot, sweaty walk and the huge Komodo Dragons we saw. The Bali Arts & Crafts tour included woodworking, bamboo carving, painting, and a visit to a batik manufacturer. The guide was very informative and offered great advice. I totally enjoyed the ride around Kuala Lumpur. Of all of the stops, I believe that this one was the richest in culture. NCL offered several Singapore tours that dropped folks leaving the ship hotel drop-off. They saw the entire island and feedback was great. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
We joined the ship in Hong Kong for a 21 night cruise. The itinerary was NOT what we had hoped for due to the azipod problems which was very disappointing. I am basing this review on the ship itself as that was very positive and we had ... Read More
We joined the ship in Hong Kong for a 21 night cruise. The itinerary was NOT what we had hoped for due to the azipod problems which was very disappointing. I am basing this review on the ship itself as that was very positive and we had a wonderful time onboard which given all the sea days was just as well ! The entertainment was great we went to just about all the shows and I have to say the Production Cast was the best I have seen. The visiting entertainers were varied and VERY good. Dining in the free and specialty restaurants was excellent food and service. The bars and public areas all good The crew were excellent great friendly service and they smiled and carried on which wasn't always easy among some disappointed passengers . I would happily travel with NCL again that was our 3rd cruise with them and I am hoping that Australia will love them as much as we do so we can see the Jewel and any other NCL ships visit us annually. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
Despite a rocky start with the changed itinerary, this turned out to be one of my favorite cruises. The ship was a very comfortable size, and some of the newer bars and restaurants made it more fun than other NCL ships I've been on. ... Read More
Despite a rocky start with the changed itinerary, this turned out to be one of my favorite cruises. The ship was a very comfortable size, and some of the newer bars and restaurants made it more fun than other NCL ships I've been on. (Five o'clock somewhere and the mojito bar in particular) Food was typical for NCL, not outstanding but tasty and safe. We missed out on Thailand, but the added port in Vietnam helped make the cruise more interesting. The offered excursions were mixed. As a whole, the tour guides were friendly and spoke good English. We had a couple hiccups. The street food one in Saigon let us look at street food, we just didn't get to try any. The crew was friendly and helped turn the initial disappointment to a great time. The shows weren't the best, but still really entertaining. There was a violinist who played every night that was by far the most talented performer I have encountered on a cruise ship before. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
It was not the staffs problem that the ship had propeller down - but they all remained happy and very helpful. I noticed people having a go at some of the waiters and bar staff about how slow the boat was and thought how ignorant of them - ... Read More
It was not the staffs problem that the ship had propeller down - but they all remained happy and very helpful. I noticed people having a go at some of the waiters and bar staff about how slow the boat was and thought how ignorant of them - it was not there fault. The food was good, the ship was beautifully clean at all times and the entertainment was good too. We loved the 5 o'clock somewhere bar where the singer was superb. I loved the fact that the Captain of the boat spoke to us every day and gave us an update - on a previous cruise that I had been on (not NCL) I would not even have known the captain was on board! My only complaint was that the internet which I paid for was extremely slow and I spent more time waiting to get on to a site then actually using the site! but saying that I can't wait for another cruise with NCL Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
This was our first experience of what we consider to be a long cruise. We booked because of the intended itinerary which was supposed to be Hong Kong, Tiwain, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and Singapore. However because of Propeller ... Read More
This was our first experience of what we consider to be a long cruise. We booked because of the intended itinerary which was supposed to be Hong Kong, Tiwain, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and Singapore. However because of Propeller problems we unable to do Tiwain or Cambodia which was a massive disappointment as I really wanted to see Hal long Bay and Co Suomi. Our one complaint is that the company were slow to let us the passengers aware of the situation. We flew into Hong Kong where we spent a couple of days exploring prior to embarking the Norwegian Star. This process was really smooth and well handled. Our balcony cabin was all we expected, spacious, clean and comfortable, Floria our Housekeeper was wonderful, always happy and willing to help. The food on this cruise ship is really excellent, we had a (6) Food Package so we were able to experience all the Specialist Restaurants, our favourite being La Bistro and Ginza . We didn't eat at the Buffet as its just not our thing but it certainly looked "good enough to eat". We used both Dining Rooms with Versailles being the one we liked best. But no matter where we ate it was all excellent, whether breakfast, lunch or dinner. We also had the full Drinks Package so having a drink when and where we wanted was no problem. The range of drinks stocked is exceptional with an excellent selection of good wines. Our favourite bars were the Bier Garten which was on deck, large, sunny and welcoming, and Gatsby's Champagne Bar, relaxing, calm with decent piano music. I should mention that although this was Not Adult only there were never any problems, there are lots of "quiet" areas, and loads of places to sit and sunbathe away from the pool and the general noise of families having a good time. We did go to a couple of Shows and both were very good, we also did several port excursions and these could not be faulted. We disembarked in Singapore, another effortless procedure. So overall although disappointed with the itinerary change we thought this cruise amazing. The staff everywhere are there to please and please they most certainly do. I would recommend it very highly and am already planning our next cruise. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
Went on a land tour of China before embarking on the cruise from Hong Kong and found out about the propulsion problem while in China. Upset at first but decided to make the best of it. Yes some ports had to be deleted and itinerary ... Read More
Went on a land tour of China before embarking on the cruise from Hong Kong and found out about the propulsion problem while in China. Upset at first but decided to make the best of it. Yes some ports had to be deleted and itinerary changed, but the crew (I mean everybody) made us feel at home and kept us informed of the progress of the ship's problem. NCL gave us a nice incentive to make the trip; we even booked our next with the Star on the Adriatic. Food was delicious everywhere, and we simply had a great time. I should say we always choose to have a great time. When you choose to you usually have others around you wanting to feel the same and staff wanting to go the extra mile. I would recommend NCL to everybody, and the Star was terrific. Embarkation took a couple of minutes, the outside balcony (level 9) was comfortable, entertainment was really entertaining, and my wife is enjoying Tai Chi now. Thank you NCL for making this compromised trip enjoyable. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
I had expected this cruise to have a few surprises, with it being as far as I know the first Asia cruise for NCL. But I also expected the norm as far as great service, food, shows, etc. We got both of those. Boarding in Singapore ... Read More
I had expected this cruise to have a few surprises, with it being as far as I know the first Asia cruise for NCL. But I also expected the norm as far as great service, food, shows, etc. We got both of those. Boarding in Singapore was a breeze, less than half hour from arrival to a nice lunch in Moderno's. Although I did hear some folks had problems, I can only speak for our group of eight. Then it was to our rooms. So far it had been like our other cruises, perfect. Then a surprise, a Azipod had malfunction and having to move the ship from the pier to allow another ship scheduled to take our place we remained overnight in Singapore harbor. The following day we returned to the pier, we(my family) had just spent three nights in Singapore so our group stayed aboard during this. I'm sure quite a few people enjoyed the extra time in Singapore. Mean while the ship's engineering department was not enjoying there stay in Singapore. I'm guessing at that, but I will also add I'm a retired sailor. So the decision was made for us to go but we could only go at a reduced rate of speed. So between the reduced speed and the extra time spent in Singapore and the necessity of getting to Hong Kong on schedule the schedule had to change. So the two port visits to Thailand got cut. And to jump ahead due to rough weather a port in Viet Nam was cut eventually as well. Which was a disappointment, to be sure. But to us Norwegian made up for it. With a one hundred percent refund. This money was in my checking account by time we reached Hong Kong. And a fifty percent of this cruise per person base fare credit towards a new cruise booked within the next twelve months. So for us the first and second person in each of our berths was 4k and then the kids were $700 each. So each of the number 1's and 2's each received a 2k credit towards a new booking (if booked within 12 months) each of the kids number 3 and 4 received $350. All eight (all family) have booked for next year. And we are also bringing more of the family next time as well. As I sit here writing this I realized what a great company Norwegian is. After having a "eventful" cruise with them we are booking away and bringing more of my family. Everybody (maybe not kids) knows things happen so I'm not surprised but for then to smooth it over to the point where I'm bringing more of my family. I'm impressed with that. Of coarse it's not just that "smoothing" over that got us to book again it's the sum of all parts. For the entire NCL Star crew thank you for a great trip. For Hannon and Chris thank you two. Can't wait to do it again. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
I'm struck by how many things cruisecritic reviewers find to complain about, not just on cruises in general but in particular, on the Norwegian Star's new itinerary from Dubai to Singapore and on to Hong Kong. My wife and I ... Read More
I'm struck by how many things cruisecritic reviewers find to complain about, not just on cruises in general but in particular, on the Norwegian Star's new itinerary from Dubai to Singapore and on to Hong Kong. My wife and I signed up for the eleven days from Singapore to Hong Kong, and were on the whole more than satisfied. Sure, there were problems, but the captain and crew did their best to solve them. The ship didn't sink, nor even run aground. Thanks to washy-washy, no epidemic laid the passengers low. This was our fourth cruise on NCL, and we'll happily sail with this company again. We were upgraded, supposedly, from a starboard balcony to an aft-facing one on Deck 8. Disaster! Cabin 8176 is directly over the night club. As we prepared to retire around 23:00, it was as if the band was playing, loudly, at the foot of the bed. I went down to the reception desk in the atrium and angrily complained. Cindy from China promptly and efficiently got us moved to a starboard balcony cabin on Deck 9. In my view, no one should ever be assigned to Cabin 8176 unless they're 20-something party people or stone-deaf senior citizens. We were supposed to sail on a Sunday evening, but were in fact delayed about 50 hours. Engine trouble. The Captain announced that specialists needed to be flown in from Europe and America. The engine never did get fixed, so that the ship's speed was reduced by about half, causing us to miss the two ports of call in Thailand, as well as Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. Most regrettable, though severe monsoon flooding might have botched the Thai shore excursions anyway. But then came a letter from the Captain saying that on account of these troubles, the basic fare for the cruise would be refunded for every passenger. To me, that seemed more than fair. Mildly boring days at sea became a lot more tolerable, once we knew they were free, Improvising the itinerary, the ship docked at Chan May in Vietnam, where shore excursions were available to Da Nang to the south or Hue to the north. It rained heavily all day, but hey, what an opportunity! We had an excellent guide on our trip to Hue, saw mile after mile of rice paddies, a royal burial garden, and the imperial palace. A tasty, more than adequate pho lunch had been hastily arranged at a first-rate hotel. Then came the port of Sanya, China, as originally scheduled. The shore excursions were something of a rip-off, but even so, gave a chance to see something of the city and the magnificent mountain park overlooking it. We arrived in Hong Kong on schedule -- disappointed that the cruise did not turn out as promised, but satisfied with NCL's generous attempts to make the best of it. Meanwhile, there was excellent food in the main dining room, Versailles. One has to admire how the chefs shift day by day from one cuisine to another, so that every day's menu is new and fresh. We tried Aqua, the other main dining room, and Ginza, the Asian one. Ginza was superb, Aqua not so much. We went to the buffet only for breakfast, finding it crowded and noisy. We were satisfied enough with the regular eateries that we never felt the need to pay extra at the specialty restaurants. The nightly entertainment we found consistently watchable and listenable, and occasionally really excellent. A Russian husband and wife performed sensual acrobatics that took my breath away. A group of American guys from Hong Kong sang a capella in English and Cantonese -- awesome!. Meanwhile a Filipino trio crooned nightly in the atrium, and a couple of talented women, violin and cello, played classics in a bar (I was wishing for still more classical music). Our steward, a chap named Kiran who hailed from Goa, was friendly and efficient. Like the other stewards, he shaped a towel into a different animal every night: kind of silly, but you can't help but smile. Alas for the best laid plans of mice and men. There are always surprises on planet earth. I was impressed with how the captain and crew of the NCL Star adapted to the surprises of this cruise. Thanks to all of them. 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
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
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