7 Norwegian Jewel Asia Cruise Reviews

We chose this cruise because of the itinerary although we had been to all of the countries that were on the itinerary as recent as on a river cruise in 2017 to Viet Nam and Cambodia. The embarkation took 2 1/2 hours of which was the ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary although we had been to all of the countries that were on the itinerary as recent as on a river cruise in 2017 to Viet Nam and Cambodia. The embarkation took 2 1/2 hours of which was the longest embark that we had to endure after a long flight from US to Hong Kong one day prior. We were tired and hungry, but all of the restaurants were closed by the time we got on board because it was time for Muster. Our package included premium beverage, four specialty dining restaurants, unlimited internet, which was nice although the internet was crawling most of the time, and 120 free phone calls of which we used 55 minutes. We were extremely dissapponted to find out that we had to pay NCL $69 each to get a Viet Nam Visa and $89 each for a Cambodia Visa at embark. Of course, we were not aware of getting visas in advance because we planned not to get off in Cambodia because the ship only port one day there, and because we were in Cambodia 2017. The River Cruise Company advised us in advance that we had to get visa for Nam and Cambodia, but NCL did not. Moreover, Viet Nam charges $25 for its Visa; Cambodia charges $30, and it took us less than 5 weeks to get both visa. NCL charged $69 and $89, 3x the charge??? When several passengers asked the crews at the reception, one said because it was an emergency visas; other said to me because they “are merchant” visas. I pointed to that crew member the Viet Nam visa that was stapled to my passports in 2017 indicating that was a “merchant” visa, too, yet, I didn’t have to pay $69 and I got to keep the visa. I don’t know if that crew member got trained appropriately or he thought he could fool me into believing his feeble infor. On this trip, we had to turn in our Nam Visa on the last port day in Nam. So for those who want to keep it for souvenir are of our luck! The food in the Specialty Dining Restaurants was mediocre and poor in some instances. The restaurants’ staffs seemed trying but the execution was poor. At Cagney’s Steak house, I asked for a medium rare filet mignon, it came out rare. The server took it back, the kitchen recooked the steak that I already cut into instead of giving me a new one. What happened if I were sick with a cold or have some kind of contagious illness? Some thoughts for the management. Another incident at Chin Chin, Asian Fusion Restaurant, a line item on the menu, “Chinese Chicken...” one of the passengers asked the server, “what is Chinese Chicken?” The server responded with a laugh, “may be it’s small...” He then apologized later knowing what he said was inappropriate. Note for NCL management, there should be no Chinese Chickens, no American Chickens, and etc...on the menu. There were many more that we could name. In summary, we have cruised many times on large cruise ships and many more on river cruise ships, our experiences were better than NCL, which was our first time. We are not so sure if we want to give NCL a second chance! Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
I’ve travelled a lot, but this was my first cruise. And it may well be my last. It was the worst vacation I have ever experienced. I chose this mode of travel as I am single and have a deadly allergy to all nuts and peanuts. After ... Read More
I’ve travelled a lot, but this was my first cruise. And it may well be my last. It was the worst vacation I have ever experienced. I chose this mode of travel as I am single and have a deadly allergy to all nuts and peanuts. After several emails, medical questionnaires and a phone conversation with Norwegian, I was advised that they could safely handle my special dietary needs. I was very excited, as I didn’t think I could ever visit these countries; countries rich in nut and peanut products. Well as it turned out, my allergy was just one of many issues I encountered while on the Norwegian Jewel for 2 weeks visiting Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. On a positive note, I found the ship and my cabin to be very clean and comfortable. There were plenty of staff everywhere, greeting and cleaning as they went. In fact the ratio of staff to customers was incredible at almost 3:1. However, the efficiency and productivity of the Jewel’s team was very low and their customer service was appalling. In fact, Guest Services’ attitude was…”if you don’t like it, there’s the door. Let us know when you are leaving on your way out”! That’s exactly what they told some friends I met, who had booked a room for 4 but only got beds for 3! My experience at Guest Services wasn’t any better. Even though I had a letter advising that on arrival the Executive Chef would meet with me to discuss my special dietary needs, they snarled at me with a look and tone of voice that was shocking. They told me the chefs were very busy and could not attend to any special needs. It took me hours to sort through that one, but as it turned out…I think they were right!! Eventually I was able to pre-order my meals so they could be prepared nut free, but I worried about everything I put in my mouth. I couldn’t trust them from one meal to the next, as it was clear they didn’t understand or didn’t care about cross contamination. Luckily I only had one minor incident. Besides the safety of the food for me, the overall dining experience was very poor. There was always a team of restaurant staff close by to remove your dirty glass or fork before you even put it down, but it took forever to have a request like ketchup, tea or a glass of wine fulfilled. The food started off very good, but deteriorated to very bad as the days went by. The last few days it was almost inedible. More people than not were returning their meals. It made for a very unpleasant dining experience. Customer service at the Excursions desk wasn’t any better. It didn’t matter that I’d pre-paid for one of their expensive excursions every day. They seemed to treat everybody in line terribly! The Manager was no better. At least I didn’t mind the 2-2.5 hr highway drives from the pier to the destinations (one way), as I got to see some of the countryside, but it wasn’t great travel time. In my opinion, leadership was sadly lacking on this ship. Management’s response to everything was “it’s not our fault” and as a result they took no responsibility for anything. In turn, they took little to no action in resolving anything. Communication between departments was totally absent and communication with customers wasn’t much better. Things often don’t work out in business the way we planned, but I think how you handle such incidents is critical and very telling. The team on this ship avoided and deflected issues coming at them. They simply didn’t seem to have the ability to problem solve on their feet. And that attitude and lack of training cascaded down throughout the entire organization. It was very evident on the pier at Ko Samui during our first excursion. People were passing out in the blazing sun for hours with no shade, water, proper line ups or communication, while we waited for tendering that went awry. A mob mentality almost took over as people struggled for basic survival and Sr. Officers stood by chatting and laughing amongst themselves. It was utter disorganization and disbelief for passengers, as many could be heard wondering out loud how this crew would handle a disaster at sea. It was no wonder people laughed out loud as the Captain addressed the ship’s passengers some 3-4 days later about that incident, saying that safety was his #1 priority. These are just a few examples from my trip with the Jewel. It was a stressful vacation. When I wasn’t sorting out my own issues, I was listening to others vent about their own terrible experiences on board and others who even called Head Office to no avail. I was happy to get off that boat. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Chose this cruise line/ship for the itinerary. Never sailed NCL before and never will again. We have sailed many, many times with Celebrity, Royal, Carnival and princess to name a few and this cruise line fell far below each of those. ... Read More
Chose this cruise line/ship for the itinerary. Never sailed NCL before and never will again. We have sailed many, many times with Celebrity, Royal, Carnival and princess to name a few and this cruise line fell far below each of those. Complete disorganization with tours to the point we waited over 4 hours in the hot sun for a tender to the ship because the crew did not realize low tide was coming in. There were no announcements in fact it took the crew from ANOTHER CRUISE LINE docked there to try and assist. Saw a few of the crew laughing and thought that this was funny....no apologies from NCL - they could care less. Really, are you not a cruise line? The ship was older and no bells or whistles at all. The crew was just average with no one going "out of their way" and while the food was OK, we were not impressed at all. The only positive was the entertainment on the ship which was surprisingly very good. Cabin was typical and again nothing impressive. I would choose Royal or Celebrity in the future and never sail NCL again. Paid quite a bit of money for a disappointing cruise in Asia. In reviewing the actual ship, I would again say it has no bells or whistle. No outdoor movie screens, small grand entrance. Cabins are what you would expect and one feature that I did like was the ability to close a door to the toilet (even though it was clear). Pillows were much nicer then previous cruises. The staff was average but most seemed to just "do their job" and not go above and beyond. While some did have the approach of being super friendly, the majority did not and when they did, it seemed very forced. The entertainment was outstanding. They had shows that you would see in Vegas and I was very impressed that they were able to carry these out on a ship. I would say, this cruise probably had the best entertainment with the exception of Allure of the Seas. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Lots of issues This is the worst experience we had with NCL. A/C not working, hot water & cold change during shower, shower door jam would not close, problem with ship engine, not getting to port on schedule and leaving early, staffs ... Read More
Lots of issues This is the worst experience we had with NCL. A/C not working, hot water & cold change during shower, shower door jam would not close, problem with ship engine, not getting to port on schedule and leaving early, staffs not train (service terrible). for example, the waiter pour coffee for our friends but forget to pour it for us. In the past, our room were service for 3 times a day, on this cruise skip the morning service. We spoke with a lot of guests on this cruise, they also also indicated NCL have cut back on their service. Over all we had a bad experience. we were hoping for some compensation but no offer of compensation were made. No A/C in rm for hrs. No TV for couple days. Staff not trained, poor service. Rm cleaned late afternoon. No Port talks given and little info on ship. Arrive Ports late and cuts. Worst cruise experience! Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
Having booked what I thought would be the trip of a lifetime I have been left very dissapionted.Embarkation was a joke!3 hours queing in high 20 degree temperatures with no information or as much as a glass of water because ncl had not ... Read More
Having booked what I thought would be the trip of a lifetime I have been left very dissapionted.Embarkation was a joke!3 hours queing in high 20 degree temperatures with no information or as much as a glass of water because ncl had not informed passengers of the need for 2 passport photo copies.Booking in was then not completed properly with no credit card details taken,only to receive a rude letter 2days later informing me of delays dissembarking because I had chosen to pay by cash.The ship was very overcrowded,there were always ques at the dining rooms and it was almost impossible to get a seat at the buffet resturant.Whilst I understand that this is a freestyle ship what little dress code there is for the resturants was not enforced with hoodys flipflops,heavily printed t-shirts apparently all acceptible.The food was very good and the service from the onboard staff excellant.The entertainment was of very poor quality,with only 1 45 minute show per day even on sea days.Every bar had loud music of poor quality.On disembarkation my case was destroyed,this has happened before on another cruise line and I had my case replaced,but ncl just washed there hands of it saying that they are not responsible for losses due to luggage handling.This was not my first cruise but is was my first with ncl and it will be my last with them. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
The food and the service was the worst I have ever experienced in comparing to the 19 cruises I had before. Menu in the complimentary restaurants were almost the same every day for 15 days. We chose to eat outside of the ship as many ... Read More
The food and the service was the worst I have ever experienced in comparing to the 19 cruises I had before. Menu in the complimentary restaurants were almost the same every day for 15 days. We chose to eat outside of the ship as many times as possible. Waiters and most of the crew members never greeted any guests, including sales personnel in the shops, they just ignored you. Shows were terrible, only the shows by Lisa Anna Ching and the acrobat show at the end of the cruise were good in a 15-night cruise. Shuttle bus for Kagoshima was $15 per person which was a ripoff and no shutter bus was arranged in Shanghai which was a distance from the nearest subway station. Due to the visa problem of a few guests, the ship was delayed to arrive in Hong Kong which had created problems in the shuttle bus service. I definitely will not take any NCL cruise again and use the same money to go for other cruise lines. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
In 2016, we enjoyed our earlier cruise with NCL Star for 21 days in a Suite and had absolutely no issues. This is what enticed us to take another cruise with Norwegian. This cruise with Jewel was only for 11 days from March 21 to April 1, ... Read More
In 2016, we enjoyed our earlier cruise with NCL Star for 21 days in a Suite and had absolutely no issues. This is what enticed us to take another cruise with Norwegian. This cruise with Jewel was only for 11 days from March 21 to April 1, 2018. The best part of the cruise is the fact that our Mini-Suite was kept immaculately tidy by our steward. The whole ship always looked tidy. Unfortunately, the positives stop there. NCL Jewel is a highly disorganized ship and the reasons are as follows: (1) from the initial port in HK up to disembarkation. People in HK were not even properly identified as NCL staff. They were grabbing the suitcases from our hotel limo as we arrived. (2)Furthermore, NO ONE in the check in counter in HK knew what Latitudes was. Only those in the Suites were assisted even if the Latitudes program supposedly provided for assistance on embarkation for those in Gold upwards (3)Restaurant reservation made online prior to the start of the cruise did not sync with the ship's system. Hence, I just wasted all that time planning the restaurants that we wanted to dine in. (4)The worst part is the staff at Azura ( on the first night) were demanding a print out from me for the proof of my reservation. I obviously do not walk around with hard copies of the reservation when it is supposed to be in their system as per my NCL account. I did not appreciate this because there were other patrons behind and I never expected to be treated in such fashion when the meal in question is an inclusion and not even a specialty restaurant. I later found out that the whole reservation system was not working for the entire length of the cruise(5) Water purchased in advance were not delivered to our room until after 3 follow ups. We were told that it would be delivered the next day which is unacceptable as my husband and I require such for our medication. (6) Shore excursion organizers at the start were not organized with guests even requesting that a line be formed during the process. This is disappointing as the staff should have organized the whole process better. I started wondering if they had trainees organizing these excursions. Also, some guests of the boat were complaining that the ship ran out of shore excursion openings for most of the tours. It is only for 11 days – how can they get it so wrong. (7) Room service did not deliver an order for nearly 3 hours because they supposedly failed to get our room number. We could not have our breakfast at the restaurants that morning as we were dealing with a family emergency over the phones. This was the height of how dysfunctional room service was. To order for beer at around 10 pm would take at least an hour to be delivered. (8) Food in the specialty restaurants are mostly SALTY. The dishes we enjoyed at the NCL Star are also offered at the Jewel but for some reason almost everything is about 3 times saltier. This made most of our dining experiences not enjoyable. Menus in the main dining areas/complimentary do not change at all. Azura and Tsar have near similar menus ( 9) Staff in the Garden Cafe are NOT very helpful and would really rather stand around than assist guests when the place is packed during meal time. The same goes with Azura. The staff members seem to be overwhelmed during peak times. Hence, guests are left waiting to be attended to. We dined there twice and it is sad to see that the main dining area could hardly cope and not get its act together. (10) As we had to leave the ship earlier than scheduled due to a family emergency, we had to disembark by ourselves. We have paid for the cruise until 01 April but had to leave by 30 March. We were supposed to disembark at around 11 am as our flight was at 3:00 pm. By 9:30 am, housekeeping wanted to check if we were still in our rooms. Yes, the very same room that we have paid for in full till April 1 including the unlimited internet charges I have paid for UNTIL April 1. An hour later, someone in guest relations also went to our room to check if we were still around. This was weird because they all knew we were only leaving past 11 am. I could not understand why they were rushing to get us out when the ship will still be docked until 7 or 8 pm in Kobe. Later, the disembarkation officer was VERY VERY rude and even raised her voice infront of everyone when I said that all I wanted was to get out of this ship once and for all. She should not be in hospitality if that is how she treats guests. Prior to our disembarkation and after having raised some of the issues above with customer relations, the Hotel Director Steven even offered to compensate us with US$200 off our bill for all the inconveniences we encountered. We find that insulting as we did not raise our issues to get freebies. We actually look down on people who try to pull that sort of stuff. In the long run, we believe people with legitimate issues suffer when an establishment assumes that people only whinge because they want to get freebies. We declined the offer and told him to use the funds instead towards boosting staff training and morale. He also later on sent a bottle of wine and some chocolates to our Mini- Suite. We also sent that back and politely said thank you BUT no thank you to the messenger. Over-all we regret taking this cruise. It was only for 11 days but I think it stressed us out in the 9 days that we were inside that ship. We were so impressed with NCL Star that we even made 3 CruiseNext deposits in 2016. We are not regretting that decision. Since coming back to Australia, we have read some reviews other passengers have given Jewel and all I can conclude is that we are not alone with our findings. They also are the same with the sentiments of most of the people we interacted with on the boat. Most of them even swearing this would be the final time with NCL. I hope I am wrong to assume that NCL only treats guests from the Suites better than the rest. If someone in a Mini Suite this time cannot get decent satisfaction from a cruise liner then I don’t know what hope the other guests in the lower decks would feel. The ship is running very poorly because of low staff morale and inadequate training. Suffice to say, I will surely think thrice before recommending this vessel for a cruise. The Jewel is destroying the NCL brand and needs an overhaul. It has management and staff issues. We have cruised with both Princess and Celebrity on both levels, Suite and Mini Suite, and had absolutely none of these issues. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
Norwegian Jewel Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 4.1
Dining 4.0 3.7
Entertainment 4.0 4.1
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family 4.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.8
Enrichment 1.0 3.4
Service 3.0 4.1
Value For Money 4.0 3.8
Rates 3.0 4.1

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