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21 Norwegian (NCL) Auckland Cruise Reviews

Incredible weather.   Between riding buses and a rental car for  six weeks from Cape Reinga to Wanaka in New Zealand, the only rain I had was for about an hour driving between Greymouth and Arthur's Pass.  How lucky is that ?!  I ... Read More
Incredible weather.   Between riding buses and a rental car for  six weeks from Cape Reinga to Wanaka in New Zealand, the only rain I had was for about an hour driving between Greymouth and Arthur's Pass.  How lucky is that ?!  I saw Queenstown on a previous visit, and highly recommend it and the bus tour to Milford Sound.   The road into the Sound is great. It has been a few years since I took a cruise, mostly because I travel solo, and the cruise lines really stick it to us.   A cruise advertised for $400.00 pp double occupancy somehow goes to  $2300.00 when I plug a 1 into number of guests.  Yes, typically I would be quoted paying for two people, and one or two added taxes.  Plus once you buy a cruise, you get that "enticing" offer to bid for an upgrade.  Of course whatever you bid will be doubled for us solos if accepted.  This was my fourth cruise, so I have comparables.  A cruise has the appeal of:  having a private,  comfortable, ensuite cabin; waking up in a different town or island with no concern for reserving hotels or being stuck in a room due to inclement weather;  how to entertain yourself; and food. Well, I just took the NCL Jewel from Auckland to Sydney, Feb 4-14, leaving at 1800 on the 4th, arriving at 0600 on the 14th.  It had a great price for a solo traveler.  BUT,   somehow this was considered a 12 day trip, and they tried to get you for $180.00 per person in service charges.  Plus the party leaving the cabin, and the one replacing me were  charged as well, so actually $210.00 in "tips" for that 12?   day trip, not per cabin,  but per person in that cabin that was  over three years old, so figure on  a bill for $540.00 in "tips" for a couple with one child. The ship had a jogging track, and a basketball court.  No thanks, WAY too many people, of all ages, sitting out there that you do NOT want to see in next to nothing.    Fortunately there was a decent gym on board, or you could get a good aerobic workout climbing the stairs between decks. Except for when we were in the sounds, you could not sit on the bow, which to me is the best seat in the house, next to the captain's chair.   "It's not safe". Yet  I can go to the top two  decks protected from disaster only by the same meter high railing.  Yea, that's ok.  Deck 12 was ringed by a seven foot tall glass barrier that you could see fairly well through dirty glass. Prepare your ears to be accosted by non-stop noise coming through the speakers probably called smooth jazz or freeform jazz.  You can't get away from it except in your cabin, or in the library.  I couldn't stand it when I was young, or now, as you can probably guess.  Except for trivia games, the entertainment was almost entirely music I don't listen to, and apparently the louder, the better. Again, I felt the same way in my twenties. All the announcements seemed to work in "for your safety".   If safety is such a hyperconcern, then you should ban smoking and alcohol on board.  And we know what gambling can do to some people, so you should ban it "for their safety".    Will never happen though, since those are huge revenue generators.   That New Zealand grown apple that was loaded in Auckland, not Shanghai, Auckland, could not be taken with you if you took that shore excursion that cost triple what it should.  The same with water for pete's sake.  What was I thinking, it's "for my safety".  Happy ending overall.  No rain, arrived on time, my flights were on time and it was back to reality. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
Overall: Average Cruise and the highlight was the day cruising the Sounds. The Sounds are spectacular and cruising was a great way to see a small portion of them. Dining: We never do up charge dining, we paid for an all inclusive ... Read More
Overall: Average Cruise and the highlight was the day cruising the Sounds. The Sounds are spectacular and cruising was a great way to see a small portion of them. Dining: We never do up charge dining, we paid for an all inclusive why would you pay even more? The main dining rooms were average to below average. There was not one shrimp dish, appetizer or entree, on the menu for the entire 10 day cruise. We have cruised more than a dozen times is this was a first. Other cruise lines, at least in the past, have always offered at least a shrimp cocktail most every night. The two formal (Offically called "Dress up or not") nights were a big bust and the dinner menus those night were the worst of the entire cruise, no Prime rib and no lobster. The only seafood dishes offered the entire cruise ware mussels and clams. No New Zealand or Australian dishes offered. O'Sheehan's Neighborhood Bar & Grill was our favorite as they served very good Fish and Chips and Burgers there. The food at the Topsiders was below average. The Garden Cafe did ofter some dishes that were very good but mostly just average quality food. They did serve pork ribs there one night that we discovered after we had dinner in the Azure and they were way better than anything on the dinning room menu that night. So it is worth at least walking through and checking out the offerings at the Garden every night. The Chin Chin was good but nothing spectacular. Soft Ice Cream had Chocolate one night out of the entire cruise, the rest of the time it was Vanilla and Strawberry. There was scooped chocolate ice cream at the Topsiders in the afternoons most days. Entertainment: The production shows were above average and very good. Norwegian needs to re-think their entertainment choices outside of the production shows. There was one stand-up comedy show one night in the main theaters and one late night comedy show with the same comedian. That was it for entire 10 day cruise, I guess this isn't the Fun ship. They did have a comic magician one night in the main theater and he was the worst professional entertainer I have ever witnessed, this was high junior high level comedy and that is being generous. I could even see how he was doing some of this tricks. Lame tricks and not funny jokes. He must be NCL executives son-in-law. The pool side music presented by DJ Brightside was some really lame and way too load dance beat music from the 90s and 2000s. This was a really interesting choice considering that about 80% of the people on this cruise were in their 50s, 60s and 70s. Seemed to be no thought for the customer demographic by NCL management. There was a 1970's Grove Disco party one night that turned into an Abba tribute, we left after the forth straight Abba song. Someone needs to let them know that Abba was not a 70's Disco band. The "Showband" was excellent and a group of very talented musicians, we would go listen to them whenever they played. Shore excursions: Very few were offered. The ones that did offer were mostly lame and over priced to tune of up to three times of what you could book it for on your own. Ship: Well cared for and in very good shape, they disinfected the walls and hands rails at least three times a day. Our only issues was that it appears that they had never gotten around to washing the glass on the upper decks for the past couple of years. Ports: The New Zealand ports were all great. We did not get to stop at Gisborne because of six foot swells which was a surprise considering our itinerary stated that we were going to dock at Gisborne not tender. However we did get a whole $8 credit each for that day. We did book a scenic flight in Picton and it was a high light of our trip. Pelorus Air (https://www.pelorusair.com/) is a great some family owned company to fly with, their tour was great!!! Cabin: Nice and pretty much the norm. We spent four days on the North Island before our cruise and three days around Sydney after and we would definitely recommend doing that and maybe spending even more days. Our next trip to New Zealand will be exploring on land in a car. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
First time on Jewel, this was cruise 60 for me. Been to New Zealand many times. Embarkation and disembarkation was long and delayed due to port authorities and health checks for the Coronavirus. Not fault of Norwegian, There was an ... Read More
First time on Jewel, this was cruise 60 for me. Been to New Zealand many times. Embarkation and disembarkation was long and delayed due to port authorities and health checks for the Coronavirus. Not fault of Norwegian, There was an outbreak of gastro which made the bistro and main dining room difficult as everything was handled and served by staff. Everything was disinfected over and over. The condition of the Ship was fantastic, well maintained and no issues as everything worked and the cabin was comfortable. The crew were fantastic and very much enjoyed their contact, friendly and helpful. Entertainment was outstanding from stage productions to the comedian. Never missed a show. Internet was good but expensive. Loved the Coffee. Specialty Dinning was amazing and worth the money except for the Sushi. The itinerary ports were great, didn't do shore excursions as they were very expensive. The Doubtful Sound and Milford Sound were spectacular, was good if not better than Alaska. The Kiwi's were friendly and well prepared for tourists. Most of the passengers were American, British, Asian, some Australians and many other nationalities. Most of the passenger were middle aged, few elderly and disabled. Few Children or young passengers not for families. I enjoyed this cruise but it was not perfect but was excellent value for the solo traveler. I would recommend this ship and Norwegian. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We did an Auckland to Sydney cruise on the Jewel from Feb 4th to 14th. We choose this cruise because of the number of stops in New Zealand. We favor Celebrity, but picked this for the itinerary. We had been on NCL a couple times years ... Read More
We did an Auckland to Sydney cruise on the Jewel from Feb 4th to 14th. We choose this cruise because of the number of stops in New Zealand. We favor Celebrity, but picked this for the itinerary. We had been on NCL a couple times years ago and were never impressed. However, we were quite pleased with the Jewel and this cruise. I believe it has been refurbished fairly recently, so that probably helped. The ship though was quite nice, the crew great, and the itinerary outstanding. I cannot say a lot about the food - it was usually ok, but not great by any means. We did the specially restaurants 4 nights and thought Le Bistro was the best. We did like being able to choose from a number of included restaurants too instead of just one big main dining room. There are also no formal nights (yay!) and dress was casual (shorts were pretty common). The show entertainment ranged from OK to really pretty outstanding. The lounge and ship musical entertainment was generally pretty good. Embarkation in Auckland was a zoo due to the addition of Coronavirus screening. Fortunately, being in a mini suite, we got through in about 30 minutes. Getting off in Sydney was delayed about an hour due to Australian health officials checking out a guest. We had great weather the entire time, though we could not tender in Gisborne even though the waves looked basically non-existent. We were just going to the beach that day anyway, so the deck was about the same thing. The cruise through the Fjords was amazing with nothing by blue sky all day long. As I said, we were not NCL fans before, but this cruise definitely changed our minds. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
This was my 3rd cruise on the NCL Jewel and it did not disappoint. I am a solo traveler and NCL is the best for solos. I always get an oceanview cabin on deck 5 midship. So comfortable and close to mid and forward elevators always ... Read More
This was my 3rd cruise on the NCL Jewel and it did not disappoint. I am a solo traveler and NCL is the best for solos. I always get an oceanview cabin on deck 5 midship. So comfortable and close to mid and forward elevators always quiet. Our solo activity leader was awesome making dinners for the group getting group seat at the shows and making sure we all had a good time. The activities were excellent and my favorite is the dance lessons. They do lack a bit in Enrichment activities The pool and hot tubs were warm. Loved the ports and going thru the sounds perfect itinerary to see New Zealand. Food was excellent at all venues but Cagney's had to be the best love the truffle mash potatoes. The shows were really good and I especially enjoyed the Cirque show its not to be missed Awesome crew and room steward. NCL shore excursions are pricey so I looked into private ones which I highly recommend doing. The private ones are small groups normally and much more interesting then NCL excursions. Several ports I just went around on my own after researching and many were easy to walk around. Embarkation was the fastest I have ever experienced in 9 cruises with NCL and so easy. Disembarkation was well run and smooth. I would go again in a heartbeat and look forward to being on the Jewel again. I enjoy the NCL cruises so much as a solo I have 2 more booked Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We selected this ship and itinerary because we wanted to visit this part of the world for the first time. Cruising seemed an ideal way to see a lot of New Zealand including the sounds on the South Island. We planned our own air since we ... Read More
We selected this ship and itinerary because we wanted to visit this part of the world for the first time. Cruising seemed an ideal way to see a lot of New Zealand including the sounds on the South Island. We planned our own air since we wanted to stay an extra few days in Auckland at the beginning and Sydney at the end. More on this later. The Norwegian Jewel was just refurbished and it’s clean overall. If you’ve been on other Jewel-class ships, this will feel comfortable. There are a few differences (no Atrium Bar, for example) but they were small things. The crew kept saying that this was the “friendliest ship” in the Norwegian fleet, and I must say that they lived up to this billing. Embarkation was smooth and quick. We arrived around 12:30 pm so the crowds had not started growing too large. Disembarkation went smoothly also, but was a bit jammed up at 9:30 am since it seems that is when many people want to leave. Entertainment was very good overall. The main thing that kept it from being excellent was a comedian-magician near the end of the cruise. He was trying to be funny during his interactions with the audience, but it mostly came across as creepy and unfunny. I think they were giving him a trial, as he was really not up to the level of the other performers. The other professional shows were amazing, high quality and professionally done. The lounge bands were typical for cruises: decent and competent, but not really inspiring. The food onboard was excellent overall, but we only went to a few venues. For the free venues, O’Sheehans has the most unique menu choices and the longest hours. Tsar’s Palace (main dining) was our preferred sit-down restaurant for dinner, with good service and tasty food. Azura (the second main dining room) appears to be where they train newer staff members; service wasn’t as consistent. We grabbed a snack a couple of times in the Garden Café, and that was reasonable but seemed always busy. For the specialty restaurants, we went to Cagney’s, Le Bistro, Teppanyaki, La Cucina, and twice to Moderno (overall, our favorite). We bought a 6-dinner package, so the cost per meal was less than $30. Our Free at Sea offer included Wi-Fi, ship to shore phone, drinks package and $50 per port shipboard credit per tour booked. One issue we had with the Wi-Fi: most ships allow you to connect to the NCL app while you're onboard without using your package minutes. Not on the Jewel: my app said that I had to connect to the Wi-Fi in order to use the app, which would burn up the minutes. You can buy more time, including unlimited, but it costs. I’m planning to comment to NCL about this. The enrichment talks were mostly good, although the educational talks were somewhat dry and not engaging. Ports: Overall, the ports provided a wide range of opportunities for tours and local exploration. The time in each port was a good fit for the number of activities available in each. Auckland: We stayed at the Avani Metropolis for three full days before embarking on Monday. We took a tour to Hobbiton and the Glow Worm caves on one day, which we booked in advance. We toured Waiheke Island on a wine tasting day, which we booked once we arrived in Auckland. We had a day free to walk around the city and meet up with other cruisers from the roll call for a casual sunset snack. Embarkation day is available to do a few things, if you don’t mind boarding relatively late (4:00 pm is the latest possible), but note that you can’t get off the ship once you’ve boarded. Bay of Islands: a beautiful location. We did not plan anything in advance, and we found there were many tours available from local providers once we got off the ship. We took a fast boat ride out to the Hole in the Rock and had a great time, then walked around the town. There’s a free shuttle from the tender dock into town (and back, of course). You can walk but it’s a bit far. The Treaty Grounds is near the tender dock, but it’s not free to go in and walk around. Tauranga: We booked a tour on our own to the Te Puia Geothermal Valley and Maori cultural show. It turned out to be a private tour for the same price as a group tour. Most of the other tours went to Hobbiton and the Glow Worm caves, and we felt that we made a good choice to do this tour earlier. Napier: We took an Art Deco tour through the ship, which was probably a good idea due to the limited number of tours. This tour started with a drive around the residential areas, followed by a walking tour that was done early enough to have time to walk back around the town. Picton: We booked a day-long wine tasting tour on our own, in advance. We were a group of 11 and we had a great time. Getting back in time was no problem, and the smaller group size let us visit smaller wineries. It seemed that many people do a wine tour here, as we saw a lot of other tour groups. Akaroa: A nice little port town. We took the Black Cat harbor cruise and saved money by booking it upon arrival. We saw some nice dolphins, seals and lots of birds. We walked around town and enjoyed seeing the historic buildings. Dunedin: We took the ship tour to Nature’s Wonders, which is a private wildlife park about an hour and half by bus from the ship. We saw a lot of seals and a few nesting penguins. We did not have a lot of time to visit Dunedin on the way back. They did offer to drop people off in Dunedin if they wanted. Note: there is no free shuttle between Port Chalmers and Dunedin (round trip is $10 NZ per person). Cruising the sounds: The weather was cooperative and the clouds that hugged the coastline did not extend very far into the sounds. As a result, we had beautiful conditions in all three sounds. We feel fortunate, as the cruise before us could not visit the sounds due to high winds. At sea (2 days): About what you’d expect. The first day, the weather was a little rough and windy for our cabin crawl, but we all managed. The weather the second day was much warmer and less windy, so it was a good day for the pool and deck. Sydney: We stayed 5 days including debarkation day (you should have most of the day available). We stayed at the Sydney Harbour B&B in The Rocks, near the top, so we got lots of exercise walking up and down the stairs. It was also Australia Day on Jan. 26 (Sunday) so we couldn’t do a lot of regular activities due to disruption of the ferry schedules. We toured the Opera House on Saturday morning and attended a concert there in the afternoon. If you have the choice, take an early tour (9:30 at the latest) so you can visit the concert halls that may be closed later in the day for events. We also visited the Tauranga Zoo, but bad weather delayed the opening of the Sky Safari (tram from bottom to top). We'd definitely go back on a similar itinerary, but we would pick one with more ports in Australia or maybe plan some more land time on our own. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
First time cruise; beguiled by the Norwegian in its title - it an US ship and shows it in its entertainment and dining (if it can be called that). We selected a penthouse cabin (10502) and it lived up to expectations with excellent ... Read More
First time cruise; beguiled by the Norwegian in its title - it an US ship and shows it in its entertainment and dining (if it can be called that). We selected a penthouse cabin (10502) and it lived up to expectations with excellent butler and steward services - well done Rodwin and Francis. A hint on the cabin - while there are 2 European power points these are hidden under the dressing table and behind the bow side bedside table. The rest are 110V US sockets. The problems started outside the cabin with a preponderance of loud mouth US citizens ready to drown out any table conversation and dishes tuned to their tastes - overly salty and overly sweet. The nadir was hit at Le Bistro - reserved for our last night at sea - with tepid bouillabaisse (sent back for reheating and came back with a hot plate and still tepid dish) and incredibly salty french onion soup and lamb cutlets. We have dined in many French restaurants, including in France, and have never been exposed to this salty cuisine. Worth dining at are La Cuchina and Moderna (if you are a carnivore). While wait staff are generally off-hand, we did run into a couple of waiters who knew how to engage and knew their dishes. Coffee was again tuned to insipid US tastes (Americanos) and I almost had a barista in tears because I suggested he go to a small coffee shop in Australia or NZ and ask the barista how to make a proper long black to meet the NZ and Australian tastes. There is a sense of masters and slaves on this ship - very uncomfortable. The crew were either overly fawning or stand offish. Like two worlds living side by side and not quite engaging. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
We had not travelled Norwegian before; decided to give it a go. Embarkation in Auckland was an absolute nightmare - by far the worst we have ever experienced. Apparently everybody was told to arrive at midday and the port facilities ... Read More
We had not travelled Norwegian before; decided to give it a go. Embarkation in Auckland was an absolute nightmare - by far the worst we have ever experienced. Apparently everybody was told to arrive at midday and the port facilities were completely overwhelmed. We had to stand in a waiting area for over an hour before finally being allowed upstairs to queue, again, for another 45 minutes to check in and get our cabin cards. We were only offered one glass of ice water during the entire time. Dear Norwegian, it is actually very hard for us older types to stand for such a long time. The selection of restaurants / eating areas is amazing. O'Sheehan's is the best place for breakfast. The kitchen is right next door and our omelettes always came out piping hot. Having cruised many times it was very pleasant to receive food that is the right temperature. And hooray for decent coffee. Lunch and dinner, however, were more disappointing. The bar staff in the afternoon and evening were great fun. Also, the ship as a whole rarely felt crowded. The freestyle cruising and food options made an amazing difference to wait times. Teppanyaki was great fun. Cagney's was very nice indeed. The Asian restaurant Chin Chin was also very good. Bistro, the French restaurant, was a bit disappointing because the comfit duck was so overcooked it had become floury. Moderno was fun although the salad bar could have been better. We only ate in Aurura once, and weren't disappointed. We also ate in Tsar's once, and were happy with the meal. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
This cruise visited all the New Zealand spots we planned on visiting. As well, it ended in Sydney where we planned on visiting next. Excellent itinerary. One large negative experience was the embarkation at Auckland. The whole ... Read More
This cruise visited all the New Zealand spots we planned on visiting. As well, it ended in Sydney where we planned on visiting next. Excellent itinerary. One large negative experience was the embarkation at Auckland. The whole process of getting guests on board was chaotic. Norwegian blamed the New Zealand immigration officials. However, it is clearly Norwegian's responsibility to take care of their guests. The whole confusing procedure was shameful! Entertainment on board was excellent... In particular "Burn the Floor". "Luminescence", and "24 Karat". Dining experience was good with a good selection of menu items. Our meal at the Brazilian restaurant, Moderno, was fantastic. However, our meal at the speciality Italian restaurant was real disappointment. The pork scaloppine was cold and over-cooked. The ports visited were excellent with good management by NCL in getting guests off and on. Staff were mostly excellent and always courteous and helpful. Overall a good experience. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
This was a last minute decision for me. I usually do my homework and know exactly what I want to see and how, before I even book a vacation. This time I decided I didn't want to wait another year until it was summer again ... Read More
This was a last minute decision for me. I usually do my homework and know exactly what I want to see and how, before I even book a vacation. This time I decided I didn't want to wait another year until it was summer again "down under"! I picked NCL Jewel strictly on the itinerary and time. As a solo I had to pay for 2 people, and that will always bother me, but I as a solo on NCL I was treated much differently then on other cruise lines! NCL made sure they had a meet up for solo cruisers, that we had people to sit with at dinner and the opportunity to make friends. I still had the freedom to do as I liked, but had the choice to join a group of others traveling alone. What a great safety net! My room was an inside and it was roomy enough and the bathroom was nice sized. My steward kept it very tidy and had ice waiting for me each evening, as I requested. Although other then the evening shows I didn't participate in many of the ships activities, the staff was very friendly and always seemed available to answer my questions or suggest activities. I didn't go to any of the premium restaurants, but I thought the complimentary ones were wonderful, especially ChinChin. I ate there 3 times! The buffet 's food was really good, but the hub bub up there, as in every buffet, on every ship I've ever been on, was a lot to take in the morning! NCL has the best entertainment of any cruise line I've ever been on. It was varied and their performers are not amatuers! They are just wonderful! Plus they contracted "Burn the Floor" show and they performed twice and held a dance clinic. Fabulous!!! I plan on taking NCL again, mainly because of the value I received for the money I paid. Worth every cent!! Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
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
Sail Date February 2017
We joined this cruise in Auckland on 19th February. We had been reading all about the trouble with the ship on the previous leg of the journey and when we had left England a week before our sail date we had been advised that 3 of the ... Read More
We joined this cruise in Auckland on 19th February. We had been reading all about the trouble with the ship on the previous leg of the journey and when we had left England a week before our sail date we had been advised that 3 of the stops had been cancelled and we would be in Port at Auckland for an extra day, with an extra stop to Port Kembla after Sydney. Our travel agent failed to inform us that as the ship was now repaired the cancelled trips to Bay of Islands and Bali were back on and we were leaving Auckland on the Saturday not Sunday. We had been informed that we would receive $500 on board spend and 25% off our next cruise for the inconvenience, A fair offer we thought as only Brisbane had remained cancelled. Our cabin (Deck 5 large picture window) was adequate and roomy enough for the little amount of time we spent in it. We would joke to other guests on the upper floors that we were down with the slaves - rowing. The ship is lovely with plenty of bars and restaurants. The staff were attentive and very friendly and helpful. We have no complaints at all about the ship except one very minor gripe about the amount of tendering involved over actual docking. Made getting off the ship very slow on some occasions. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
First of all, the main reason for booking this cruise was because I was doing a Tour or New Zealand North Island which started and ended in Auckland. And since I live in Brisbane. Australia, this cruise was the "perfect" way ... Read More
First of all, the main reason for booking this cruise was because I was doing a Tour or New Zealand North Island which started and ended in Auckland. And since I live in Brisbane. Australia, this cruise was the "perfect" way home, cruising from Auckland to Brisbane for 6 days, was meant to relax on my trip back to Brisbane before returning to work....and then it was an easy 20 mins drive from the Port to my house., easy! BUT a few days before I was flying to Auckland for my tour, I see on My cruise profile that my itinerary changed without notice, and was ending in Port Kembla?!?! WHAT THE?!?! I contacted my travel agent straight away, and they had no idea why the itinerary was suddenly changed with anyone being notified. And then the day before I was flying to Auckland, I saw on the news on TV that Norwegian Star was stranded off the coast of Melbourne. By then I had already requested for my cruise to be cancelled and refunded so I could make other travel plans, because this new itinerary no longer had Bay of Islands as a stop and I did not want to end my trip in Port Kembla where I'd have to find my way back to Brisbane, it defeated the entire point of booking this cruise. My travel agent informed me that the Cruise might not change their itinerary after all and will give a definite answer on Monday, which fell in the middle of my tour. . which meant I could not plan ahead anything and try to organise what I was going to do whilst travelling on a bus... awesome . . . My entire tour was partly ruined as I spent the most part of my time back and forth with my travel agent trying to find a solution, Norwegian cruise informed my travel agent that my cruise was no longer a 6 days cruise ending in Brisbane but 4 days ending in Sydney now, and If I wished to cancel, they would refund me in full. So I spent 1-2 days trying to organise with my tour guide to extend my tour with Contiki, to do South Island with Contiki instead and just fly back to Brisbane from Christchurch. The tour guide made calls etc, and managed to get me a spot to continue on with them, Hurray!!! I was so excited and so I contacted my Travel agent to go ahead and cancel my cruise and organise the refund. The next day, my travel agent responds to me and informs me that Norwegian cruiseline are no longer allowing cancellations and full refunds. And if I still wished to cancel my cruise I would lose my full payment. again... WHAT THE?!?!?!? After all this time trying to organise my tour to continue based on what NCL said. Instead, they offered to refund me for the 2 days they cut out of my cruise and organise a flight from Sydney to Brisbane. Since they had gone back on their words and were no longer offering to refund me, I had no choice but to go on this stupid cruise now. The cruise was alright, but after all this stress and hassle, it was hard to actually enjoy it. And travelling back to Brisbane ended up being such an inconvenience with having to find my way to the airport and fly back to Brisbane. . . check ins, luggage collections , etc. . . exactly what I wanted to avoid. SEVEN weeks after my cruise ended, here I am still trying to receive the refund they promised, they do not respond to their e-mails or even acknowledge my e-mails. and all I have to show for all this trouble is an empty bank account and negative memories of a ruined holiday. DO NOT WASTE YOUR MONEY ON THIS COMPANY, they happily take your money and you get nothing but negative experiences in return!!! Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
Chose this cruise to return from a coach tour of New Zealand to go to Singapore where we would fly home to the UK so using it as a final opportunity to visit key places on the east coast of Australia as it is unlikely (with increasing age) ... Read More
Chose this cruise to return from a coach tour of New Zealand to go to Singapore where we would fly home to the UK so using it as a final opportunity to visit key places on the east coast of Australia as it is unlikely (with increasing age) that we will ever revisit this part of the world again. Key places we wanted to see were : Sydney, to revisit places we saw on our last trip to Australia; Brisbane, an iconic city with the GABBA as an attraction to two cricket lovers; Cairns for the Great Barrier Reef. NCL offered a catamaran trip to the Barrier Reef from Airlie Beach and we booked this but as they did not offer anything from Cairns and we wanted to maximise our only chances to visit and snorkel on this feature we booked a helicopter flight to the reef from Cairns. We were also lookinf forward to visitng Bali and seeing some of their temples. On our coach tour round New Zealand we got an email from NCL telling us of major changes in the itinerary, but with no explanation. Brisbane was to be missed out even though it featured heavily in their brochure advertising the cruise and was to be replaced by Port Kembla (no, me neither), Bali was dropped and Cairns would be called at on the day after it was due there in the original itinerary. So with very little spare time on the coach tour we had to cancel our independent trip arranged for Bali and rearrange our helicopter flight in Cairns for the following day. Then only two days before the cruise we got another email this time telling us that Bali was reinstated and that we would be going to Cairns on the original date. We managed to re-book the trip in Bali but it was too late to rearrange the helicopter flight as they were now fully booked on that day. So two of the main reason for this cruise had been knocked on the head. What we found difficult to understand in all this was that the captain etc knew there was a problem with the engines but instead of putting into port and getting them fixed (which they were forced to do when the engines gave up outside Melbourne and the ship had to be tugged back to port) they seemed to think that they could limp on with faulty engines for the rest of the trip and just cut out destinations from the itinerary. Did not make sense. Embarkation was a nightmare - over one and a half hours queuing in hot and humid conditions in a long snake of a line with water and seats only available at the start of the queue. Seems as though they were surprised at over 2000 people turning up to get on the ship as there were nowhere near enough staff and computers to cope. Then there was the tendering. We were supposed to dock at Sydney so we thought we would have a full day to revisit some of the places we enjoyed last time. Instead we anchored and had to be tendered. We eventually got ashore at 11.10 and then found we had to walk 20 minutes to get to the main transport links at Circular Quay. Given that we would have to queue for tenders on the way back we only had 4 hours ashore instead of the expected 8 so drastically cutting back on what we could do. It was the same at Cairns where we anchored at Yorky's Knob, not Cairns. It took and hour to get onto a tender, half an hour to get to shore then another half hour on a bus (for which we had to pay) to get to Cairns. As we had already lost our helicopter trip to the Great Barrier Reef this did not improve our view of the management of the ship. Similar at Bali where the tender took 30 minutes to get to shore. We anticipated problems getting back to the ship so decided to cut out one of the temples we wanted to see in order to arrive back in time. Just as well we did as we got back before the main NCL trips but still had to queue in full sun, hot and humid for nearly 30 minutes without any cool drinks or towels being offered before we got on a tender to return to the ship. At Port Klang ( for Kuala Lumpur) we found on board that the ship was now departing at 4.30 and not 5.00 as originally advertised so we again had to contact our independent tour operator to pick us up a bit earlier to get us back on time. The final piece of poor organisation came at the end. We had been promised an onboard credit of $500 per cabin for all of the disruption caused by the engine problems and changes in itinerary. The money would be refunded if not spent. We were just about to leave when we got a phone call in the cabin asking us to go down to Guest Relations to collect our refund. even though the credit was per cabin we both had to go to collect the money individually. And we now have to change the dollars we were given into sterling - no idea why they couldn't put it back into the account we used to pay for the cruise. The shame about the abysmal organisation and management of the cruise is that (as usual) the staff were excellent - the chefs, waiters, barmen, cabin stewards. The entertainment was among the best we have seen on a cruise line, varied, high quality throughout 19 days cruise which took some doing. They would deserve 5 stars. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
Chosen for the itinerary. Evening activities pretty poor...thoroughly boring actually...I was on a 19 day cruise and would have liked to have gotten off a week earlier if it was possible to do so. Ship itself appears very tired as did a ... Read More
Chosen for the itinerary. Evening activities pretty poor...thoroughly boring actually...I was on a 19 day cruise and would have liked to have gotten off a week earlier if it was possible to do so. Ship itself appears very tired as did a lot of the staff on board. Everything about this cruise - the food, the on board activities etc reminded me of being on Carnival...which was an experience I was not keen on ever repeating. Then there was the azipod issue prior to sailing - absolutely no information forthcoming about the problem from NCL, I could only determine what was going on by reading Cuise Critic posts and listening to my local media. No response at all from emails sent to NCL, and calling their reservation staff resulted in me telling them what was happening. All companies have problems from time to time, but I have never before encountered one that simply just stuck it's head in the sand and pretended that it wasn't happening. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
I was not notified of final itinerary of cruise until night before sailing. One new port added and one removed from original cruise I purchased. Until that time 3 ports were to be left out. So very lucky. Service was excellent, ... Read More
I was not notified of final itinerary of cruise until night before sailing. One new port added and one removed from original cruise I purchased. Until that time 3 ports were to be left out. So very lucky. Service was excellent, entertainment very good, particularly enjoyed OSheehan Pub. Embarkation complete disaster, as where tenders were needed. In general communications from NCL headquarters very poor pre cruise. Relied on Cruise Critic for information. Was very lucky with no rain. Used combination of ship and private excursions and that went well. Very good selection of free restaurants. Felt enrichment program very weak. Enjoyed many afternoon movies. My cabin was inside, so nothing special but adequate for me. The singers and dancers were very good. Had 4 production review shows and every night a different invited guest entertainer if not a production show. Went every night to theatre and enjoyed all. Also around ship guitar player, 3 person excellent singing group, 4 person excellent dance band, piano player and violin and cello duet, so no shortage of good entertainment. I did explore departure city for two days prior to embarkation. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
I chose the 2017 Auckland, NZ - Singapore 19-day cruise to check off several bucket list sites. It was EVERYTHNG I hoped it would be and more. NCL resolved all mechanical issues prior to my embarkation, nearly our entire original ... Read More
I chose the 2017 Auckland, NZ - Singapore 19-day cruise to check off several bucket list sites. It was EVERYTHNG I hoped it would be and more. NCL resolved all mechanical issues prior to my embarkation, nearly our entire original itinerary was re-established, and every day was wonderful. Embarkation problems in Auckland were disastrous - 2-2.5 hour wait to get onboard because so many passengers did not have the proper Australian visas. It was hot and at least one person fainted! My cabin, 8650 (window), was artfully attended by Sugi. I enjoyed the complimentary and specialty restaurants. I am not a meat-eater and enjoyed wonderful meals in Cagney's and Moderno. The production shows were fabulous. Stardust Theatre was full and lots of positive talk the following day. Guest acts were hit & miss, but I found that it depended on whether you enjoy comedy, juggling, and individual musicians. Folks who enjoyed the genre reported enjoying those shows. I attended the last show of the cruise with the Russian pianist. The sparse audience (last night for folks disembarking in Singapore) was treated to a truly witty and entertaining performance. EVERY crew member did their best to ensure that I enjoyed my cruise. Every encounter was pleasant, helpful, cheerful, and friendly. Folks working in the bars I frequented most and the lobby café anticipated my orders by mid-cruise. Loved it!!! The ports! SPECTACULAR! Endured sweltering temps and humidity to see Komodo Dragons, cruised the Sidney Harbor, enjoyed a delightful day in Port Kembla, saw Kuala Lumpur...magnificent! Singapore is a fantastic city-country that is well-worth spending several days. I used NCL shore excursions in every port and totally felt each was worth the expense. The guides were informative and responsive. The Star traveled north into Asia, India and on to Dubai and Venice. I wish I had signed up to sail on! If NCL offers these itineraries again, I will definitely sign up! OH! Let me not forget that the staff set aside space in La Cucina on sea days for knitters and stitchers. We had a group of about 10-12 ladies from all over knitting, crocheting, and cross stitching for 2 hours. We made friends and shared many laughs. This is an example of the responsiveness of the crew. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
This was a 19-day cruise and we loved it. The ship was clean and nicely decorated. The food was always hot and tasty. The servers were quick to serve us. The entertainment was wonderful; it was of a good variety and included ... Read More
This was a 19-day cruise and we loved it. The ship was clean and nicely decorated. The food was always hot and tasty. The servers were quick to serve us. The entertainment was wonderful; it was of a good variety and included guitarists, violinists, singers, magicians, contortionists, comedians, and dancers The on board activities' were fantastic; They were of a wide variety to interest every body. They had games, such as Sudoku, word search, and trivia, They also had game shows to include the passengers as part of the entertainment. I am in a wheelchair and the staff was very attentive to our needs. They helped get our food and drinks and to get a nice place to sit. One complaint we have is that the music at all the venues was WAY too loud. I had to cover my ears in the places I went - the theater, the bars, and the showrooms. Another issue involved our shore excursions. Several of our excursions were shortened because the ship arrived late or was late getting permission to let us off the ship. As a result, we did not get to see some things that were supposed to included in our tours. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
Everyone probably knows the azipod issues previously suffered by the Star. They did cause a lot of worry and stress leading up to the cruise. Fortunately, our cruise was problem free. Our major problem was a lack of Australian visa for ... Read More
Everyone probably knows the azipod issues previously suffered by the Star. They did cause a lot of worry and stress leading up to the cruise. Fortunately, our cruise was problem free. Our major problem was a lack of Australian visa for embarkation in Auckland. We were not told by travel agent that it was required and ended up in a 4 hr line to get one online. What really made the problem stressful was the behavior and attitude of the Star's hotel director who was in charge of the embarkation process. I overheard a conversation between him and another passenger in the same situation as us. The gentleman was very civil, but could not get the hotel director to do more to alleviate the situation. Then, he spread a panic stating there was no guarantee we would get on the ship if everyone did not finish the visa process in time. He also refused to contact captain to make aware of the situation. It all worked out when they finally freed up more computers, but believe many people were really upset and frazzled. After that things were great. Every other crew member was fabulous and this was the strength of the Star. It is an older ship, but in decent shape. Buffet was a little tired in the evening, but Ginza was a great alternative. Main dining rooms were fine with meals from good to excellent with fine service. cabin steward Mark was the best we have had in our nearly 30 cruises. Comedians were hysterical. We didn't see many of the other shows. Beirgarden and our favorite bar waiter Sunshine were super and we spent most evenings there since we were blessed with great weather for rainy season. We did some ports on our own, but the NCL excursions we took were excellent. Booked for itinerary and it didn't disappoint. As I stated once we got on board we were treated like royalty. Love NCL's casual freestyle approach. There is a reason we have cruised often with NCL. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
We chose this cruise because of the ports, 29 ports plus 3 repeat ports. One port was changed but another was substituted, the captain was very generous to all the passengers who boarded in Auckland, New Zealand. Because of the ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the ports, 29 ports plus 3 repeat ports. One port was changed but another was substituted, the captain was very generous to all the passengers who boarded in Auckland, New Zealand. Because of the ship's previous problems and the one port change they gave us a 25% cruise credit and $500.00 cash onboard credit. We were luckly that in the 57 days on board we did not have any rough seas or bad weather. The food on board was average but there were plently of options and the Versailes restaurant alway had plenty of choices and a exceptional breakfast. The specialty restaurants were also very well adorned and the food was excellent . The service at the front desk was excellent as were all the staff we interacted with. The tours were mixed but when in this part of the world you have to realize that some of the standards are different. That being said some of the tours were very excellent and highly recommended and I would do them over if I had the chance. All of the tour guides did their best, some exceeded expectations. The ship maybe older, but it is very functional. The shows were much better than some of the other cruises we have been on, and they varied the shows as much as possible. The cruise entertainment staff also did a excellent job. We travelled on the Star once before, but the ship had a refit so many of the areas were different so it was like a different ship to us. We feel that we got fair value for our money and we will be sailing with Norwegian again. We see other people complaining about trivial things instead of making the best of the trip. All the staff did their best to accommodate the passengers within their limits. The only major problem that I seen was that people did not have Visa's, but both my wife and myself went online and checked ourselves before we left and when you are going on such a trip part of the responsibility is for the traveller to check themselves. Even though our travel agent did his due diligence we still follow up ourselves. Our avdice to everyone is to do your homework also. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
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