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14 Norwegian (NCL) Auckland Cruise Reviews

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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