594 Norwegian Jewel Family Cruise Reviews

Unplugged, family time together, wanted to explore Alaska with the hopes of returning on our own in future. Wonderful first cruise experience. Excursions were all booked through NCL - whale watching, Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau, ... Read More
Unplugged, family time together, wanted to explore Alaska with the hopes of returning on our own in future. Wonderful first cruise experience. Excursions were all booked through NCL - whale watching, Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau, Musher’s Camp (our favorite) and Zip-Lining In Skagway, and Lumberjack Show and Electrics Buggies in Ketchikan. Cagney’s was our favorite. Also loved The Garden Buffet and Sheehan’s Pub. Not as fond of Teppanyaki. Generally – food was good.fresh, with a variety of choices including fruit and veggies. All of our staff encounters were positive - everywhere. Hand sanitizer used everywhere. We liked the suite and thought NCL did a good job at finding space for storage throughout all spaces. Embarkations in Vancouver was well thought out and smooth, though prepare for lines. Disembarkation in Seward was managed well, too. Some cons to note: sports court was disappointing, and any outdoor activities were limited, including shuffle board, ping pong, and golfing after around 6pm. Huge checkerboard on deck, no pieces in container. Pools were ok but not used much given temperatures. Arcade premium pass is expensive – if you choose to play games without, they run about $1.50 per game, give or take. There are a limited number of games one can pla using the package. Several are still pay to play. Great entertainment. Loved the dinner and adult drink packages. Wouldn’t do soda for kids again given that ours don’t drink much, and there is complimentary lemonade and iced tea at most places. Bottled water is overpriced, and none of us got sick with drinking the water onboard. NCL needs to add specialty coffee drinks to their premium drink package like Princess. And laundry - they did offer a bundled laundry mid cruise for $20 - anything you could fit in their laundry bag. It took two days to get it back. Great first cruise - would go again if we found the right deal. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
This was a bucket list trip for my parents. My sister, husband and I went along to make it a family cruise. It did not disappoint! The shore excursions were fun and there was something for everyone and every fitness level. Our ... Read More
This was a bucket list trip for my parents. My sister, husband and I went along to make it a family cruise. It did not disappoint! The shore excursions were fun and there was something for everyone and every fitness level. Our family needed some wheelchair services, at times, the crew was so accommodating and eager to make sure that the need was met. Our cabin steward never failed to know our names, always greeted us and made sure we knew exactly what we needed to do at debarkation. This was especially comforting since this was our first cruise and we were not quite sure what to do. The food was good and the options for Freestyle were great. The entertainment was great! We especially enjoyed the Le Cirque Bijou. The show went on without a hitch even though we were in some choppy water. Lastly, the commitment of the captain and crew to make sure that their guests had a great experience at the Glaciers and going to the extra step of bringing on a Ranger from the Glacier National Park was amazing! Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
It's always been on our bucket list to check out Alaska. Our three previous cruises had been on NCL to the Carribean, Transatlantic, and Mediterranean, so we booked this one with NCL a year in advance. Embarkation & ... Read More
It's always been on our bucket list to check out Alaska. Our three previous cruises had been on NCL to the Carribean, Transatlantic, and Mediterranean, so we booked this one with NCL a year in advance. Embarkation & Disembarkation went smoothly. The ship was clean but you can tell it was older and a little tired. It was a lot smaller than the others I had been on, and I think I do prefer the larger ones. Our cabin was fine, the ports were fine, the two excursions we went on were fine.The service was fine and all the help were very friendly. They did not have a "Broadway" style show, but did have a nice circus type show. We very much enjoyed their comedian. What was VERY disappointing was the food. From the buffet to the specialty dining, it all seemed to fall short. The exception was the French Restaurant, it was the only really nice meal we had. Cagney's had been my favorite on other cruises and I could not wait to order my steak and the best fries I had ever had, Parmesian Truffle Fries. After it was served, it tasted like regular fries so I asked the waiter and he grinned at me and said they were out of the truffle oil. I would think I should have been told that at the time I placed my order so I had the choice to change my order. I could not seem to get anyone that knew how to cook eggs over medium. In truth, I was so over the no taste food on that ship. It seems like every time we take a cruise on NCL we find new things that are no longer available. When they first came out with the UBP, they had a really great selection of Whiskeys & Bourbons. On our next cruise they had cut the selection in half, and the next cut it to barely any choice, which really did not make my hubby happy. I had a drink I always liked, a Mudslide. Imagine my surprise when I ordered it on this cruise and they forgot the whip cream on top. When I questioned the bartender, he said they cut out having whip cream since they returned from Asia. I know for us, the food and drinks are a great part of feeling we are on vacation. I think it is time for us to revisit other cruise lines. I liked NCL's free styling dining and casual dress, but it seems they are making free with cutting the quality of food and drinks and that don't work for us. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We chose this cruise because of our budget, the free perks like 3rd and 4th passenger sail free, the smaller ship size, and the itinerary, specifically to see Glacier Bay and Hubbard Glacier. I highly recommend NCL Jewel for families ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of our budget, the free perks like 3rd and 4th passenger sail free, the smaller ship size, and the itinerary, specifically to see Glacier Bay and Hubbard Glacier. I highly recommend NCL Jewel for families with young kids. The kids center, Splash Academy, was open from 9 am until 10:30 pm (and even later for a fee) every day! We thought that the closing time would be too late for our 4 and 8 year old but they loved it so much and never wanted to leave. We gave up on 8 pm bedtimes. The staff did an awesome job with keeping the kids entertained and happy. There were theme nights, active games, silly songs and jokes, sports, prizes, and at the end of the cruise, they had the kids put on a circus show. My hubby and I really enjoyed our free time! Some of the food was just okay but some of the food was fantastic too. Garden Buffet had hits and misses but was decent overall. The kids loved the Garden Buffet. Fruit, tomatoes and salad greens were super fresh at the beginning of the cruise but started to look wilted at the end. The grilled fish, burgers, prime rib (served only the first 2 nights), raita, were good but other dishes like stir fries, fried rice, indian dishes, casseroles, and stews, basically any hot entrée with sauce weren't that good. Salads, fruit, made to order omelettes, made to order pastas, bacon, and eggs benedict were good. Desserts weren't that good. Self service coffee and espressos weren't good but passable. We had 2 really good meals at Tsar's Palace and 1 that wasn't. Desserts were good. The sirloin steak at Azura was cooked perfectly but the peppercorn sauce wasn't good. O'Sheehans burgers and fries were fine. But the nachos were terrible and the fish and chips weren't that good. We didn't try it for breakfast but wouldn't recommend it for lunch or dinner. The fee based dining at Cagneys, Le Bistro and Moderno were EXCELLENT. We ordered macaroni and cheese for my 5 year old; it's her favorite; and it was a terrible dish at all the restaurants. The worst mac and cheese ever. Even Kraft Dinner would have been better. I couldn't tell what was is in it. It was orange and looked good but it was awful, had a powdered chicken soup stock after taste. I spoke with serving staff and they agreed that it was really bad. At Tsars Palace, Azura and O'Sheehans, some of the staff were friendly, helpful and fast, even going beyond, while I felt ignored by some of the staff. For example, we didn't get any water for 15 minutes one time at Tsar's, I normally wouldn't have noticed it but we were super thirsty, and it seemed like there was confusion on who was looking after us. But one server at Tsar's would pleasantly fill my wine glass without me asking, sourced out the french baguette that my fussy 5 year old would only eat, and even offered us complimentary cappuccinos. Service at the fee based dining was wonderful. I didn't really see our room steward, although he was friendly, that much while I did see the neighboring steward often. On our first day, we noticed all these brown reddish flakes on our bed. The neighboring steward cleaned it up because our room steward was returning in the evening from his time off. The neighboring steward thought that it came from the AC/heating element. We didn't have that problem again. The main pool was salt water and pleasantly warm. We enjoyed the pool even on rainy days. The production cast shows were FANTASTIC. They are so talented! We enjoyed Velvet, Rock You Tonight, Aerial Duo and Le Cirque Bijou. On our second night, we kept hearing a consistent banging below. We were on deck 9. Someone from guest services came up and determined that because the water was so choppy, that a lifeboat on deck 8 was likely making that noise. He apologized for the noise and we said that it's no trouble and it's out of their control. Later, we heard someone working on the lifeboat below while water spray was hitting our 9th deck window! The banging stop and I felt so sorry for the person who had to work in that weather. We were lucky to not have booked any excursions in Skagway, one of the scheduled ports, because the Captain decided to stop in Haines instead, explaining that there had been a barge carrier jet fuel leak where we were supposed to berth. But then I heard all these different stories from other people, and they were angry and just wanted the truth. The bars were good. We really enjoyed the drinks from the bar in the Atrium. The bar in the Spinnaker Lounge (at the front of the ship) wasn't as good as the Atrium one. We had the best pina coladas at atrium, and mojitos at Topsiders (even better than the mojito bar). The driving range, and tennis/basketball court/soccer field were fun. Embarkation and disembarkation from all ports were efficient and smooth. Luggage management was efficient and fast. The Discovery Center in Ketchikan was fantastic and informative. Our kids earned a cool junior ranger badge there. Hubbard Glacier and Glacier Bay were awe inspiring. But it was depressing to see how much Glacier Bay has retreated and to learn from the Park Ranger that it, and other glaciers, will be gone in 20 years because of climate change. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Generally, overall, it was a very good experience. At the embarkation dock (after getting off the bus from Anchorage), we chose to keep our bags with us and took them to our cabins ourselves. There were no issues about that. Since ... Read More
Generally, overall, it was a very good experience. At the embarkation dock (after getting off the bus from Anchorage), we chose to keep our bags with us and took them to our cabins ourselves. There were no issues about that. Since we were cruising on a budget, we did not book any excursions and found we enjoyed everything else just fine. It is amazing what you can find! We cruised with two teens (16 years old) and our adult daughter. All were able to find something they enjoyed. The teens, however, were disappointed in the "Entourage" (the teen lounge). I think it just wasn't their speed. They enjoyed the pool, the "Card Room" and especially the karaoke nights. Everyone we came into contact with were very professional and pleasant to work with. All were very responsive to questions and requests. After boarding, we had to request that our room steward reconfigure our cabins (our needs changed after booking). They were very prompt and accommodating. The buffet was HUGE and quite tasty. I will have to admit, though, the mousse was anything but mousse. It was more like pudding with too much gelatin. Oh, well. There was plenty of other goodies! Really, the only less than optimal dining experience we had was at Cagney's. I ordered the salmon (typically very good). Unfortunately, I found it lukewarm on the edges and cold and raw in the middle. The wait staff were quick to correct the issue and bring me another plate. However, what I was brought was still the same - lukewarm, cold and raw. The waiter tried to tell me that this was the usual way it was served????? After I sent it back yet again, requesting that it be cooked longer than "usual," I received a well-done piece of salmon - hot/crispy on the outside, hot in the middle and generally dry (now not the best salmon I've had). I decided that I would eat it anyway as service was rather slow and we had already been there almost an hour, but the waiter really seemed to be trying. We were comped the plate and three desserts. Otherwise, in the food department.... if you ever went hungry on the Jewel, it was your own fault! The shows in the Stardust Theater were good, especially the comedian. He had a packed house every show. Even his "Q&A" session in the Spinnaker Lounge was standing room only and that was packed 4 and 5 rows deep! This was our 2nd cruise on NCL and we will do it again in a heartbeat! Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We went on The N.C.L. Jewel The Cruise was from Seward, Alaska to Vancouver,British Columbia. This was a wonderful seven day Alaskan Cruise. We were located in the two bedroom family villa suite in The Haven and it was sufficient for the ... Read More
We went on The N.C.L. Jewel The Cruise was from Seward, Alaska to Vancouver,British Columbia. This was a wonderful seven day Alaskan Cruise. We were located in the two bedroom family villa suite in The Haven and it was sufficient for the four of us I believe it might not be should you have more than four people. The service in our suite was superior and give most of the credit for that to our concierge Dilip he made sure we were happy and brought everything we could wish for, he helped us get off the ship very easily at the different ports of call he escorted us off at each port of call.Dilip also helped us get to the entertainment we wanted to see. My only regret is that I purchased a spa pass I probably would not have purchased had I known that the roof of the Haven Center Spa was covered, on some other cruises sometimes the roof area of the Haven Pools have not been covered and it gets too cold. The food was excellent and the spa services were very good, however they did not have acupuncture on this cruise, which really disappointed me as that was one of things I was really looking forward to. I got a shave and tooth whitening from Lynda and she knew her stuff it was the best I have ever had, she is brilliant. The other spa treatments I had where three massages from Rumbi, Should you need a massage she is the best. ‘:The food was very good especially at the specialty restaurants.9 Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Alaska was on our "bucket list" so we started out with a 6 day NCL Land Tour from Fairbanks, ending in Seward. That trip alone was well worth it...but on to the cruise! Embarkation from Seward was a piece of cake. The first ... Read More
Alaska was on our "bucket list" so we started out with a 6 day NCL Land Tour from Fairbanks, ending in Seward. That trip alone was well worth it...but on to the cruise! Embarkation from Seward was a piece of cake. The first meal in Azura was bit slow and clunky but the food was good and we weren't in any big hurry! Overall the meals were fine, particularly the specialty restaurants. The food in the main dining rooms was "good", and the service was more than adequate. Specialty restaurants were SUPERB, especially Le Bistro and La Cucina! Our mini-suite was perfect and our Room Steward, Rolando did an excellent job keeping it clean and tending to any of our requests...kudos to Rolando! The extra USB ports were a nice add. Overall the refurbished ship was clean and redecorated nicely. I was a bit disappointed that the seats in the Stardust Theater were not replaced during the refurb. They were low and uncomfortable two years ago and they are the same now. We were so busy, we managed only one show..."Rock You Tonight". It was GREAT...wonderful singers, dancers and band. An awesome production! I do like the smaller ships like the Jewel where you do not need to make reservations to get into every event. The ship entertainment was good...some very talented folks. Lots of pop music & jazz. I do wish there was some "Classical" music on board, maybe in the main lobby. It might give the ship kind of a "high class" feel. (There is a grand piano there which I have never seen used.) The gym was clean and all the machines seem to be working. The bar service was spot on. I will say the wine in the wine tasting event was a step lower that those I've been to in the past...and believe me I am not a wine snob. But I did pay extra for some GREAT wine in the specialty restaurants. Of course you go to Alaska for the spectacular views and scenery. The glacier viewing was excellent. I did spot humpbacks on three occasions from our balcony. Lots of good "Kodak Moments". Just staring out the balcony at the snow capped peaks was awe inspiring (especially for a couple from "flat" Florida!) The best part of the cruise were the ports and excursions. We did the Zip Rider/Wale watching tour...WOO HOO, what an adrenaline rush! We did the Helicopter Ride to the Glacier and Dog Sled Mushing, which was probably the best shore excursion we've ever been on! We also did the Wilderness Glacier trip where we canoed up to a glacier...also an outstanding trip! Between my camera and my Go-Pro I took over 2100 pics...many great memories. Overall the ship, crew and cruise met all of our expectations. Kudos to General Manager Steve for running a tight ship. Kudos to Jenny, Group services Coordinator for coordinating the Meet & Mingle and kudos to Dilip our Concierge who was always ready to assist us! Now that Alaska is crossed off the bucket list, it's time for French Polynesia/Hawaii in 2020. THANKS NCL! Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
There were 8 people in our family group, 6 adults and two children aged 8 and 12. Previous cruise experience ranged from none to 4 cruises. None of us had been on Norwegian or the Jewel. We had 4 cabins: 11012 (SC 2 bedroom Suite) ... Read More
There were 8 people in our family group, 6 adults and two children aged 8 and 12. Previous cruise experience ranged from none to 4 cruises. None of us had been on Norwegian or the Jewel. We had 4 cabins: 11012 (SC 2 bedroom Suite) 11628 (MB Minisuite port side near stern) 11554-11156 (connecting aft-facing M1 Minisuites). All seemed quite pleased with their cabins and experienced no real noise issues. The SC was under the library, the MB under La Cucina and the M1s under Great Outdoors. Public Spaces. We enjoyed the Great Outdoors quite a bit, both for food and drink. Dining. We enjoyed the Great Outdoors quite a bit, both for food and drink. We had dinner in Tsar’s Palace once and Azura 3 times. The food was neither outstanding nor awful. A couple of our group had breakfast in Tsar’s Palace once or twice. Our first specialty dinner was in Cagney’s, no complaints. It isn’t Ruth’s Chris but pretty good for a cruise ship. Moderno was a hit, most not having eaten in a churrascaria before. Our final specialty restaurant was La Cucina, which was my favorite. Being in a suite I had breakfast in Moderno one time. If I didn’t have family with me I would have eaten there for breakfast and lunch more frequently. We didn’t make it to Le Bistro, Teppanyaki or Chin Chin. Chin Chin doesn’t take reservations and there always seemed to be a line. I liked O’Sheehan’s, had a couple of lunches there and one breakfast there. The fish and chips were good, but the corned beef hash didn’t live up to its hype. The butler brought us breakfast in our suite most days. I’m not a fan of buffets. I only had breakfast there once and it was cereal and bananas. Oddly the milk choices were whole milk and skim. I am used to seeing 2%. I didn’t find much that interested me for lunch. The pizza was not very good, even when it first came out of the oven. The crust was doughy and the sauce bland. My doctor would have liked me to have a turkey burger or a garden burger, but the sign said it would take 15 minutes to prepare. They were making paninis a couple of the days. The Cuban one was tasty, the Mexican one not so much. My wife liked the buffet a lot. Drink. We found ourselves at Magnum/Shakers/Maltings fairly frequently, nice place for a before dinner drink or for a night cap. Topsiders and the Pit Stop were the closest bars to our suite, limited selection but a quick and easy place to grab a drink for the cabin. One pet peeve was that the menus listed Bulleitt Rye but no bars had it. Twice I ordered it and saw the bartender grab the bottle of Bulleitt Bourbon. I spoke with the Beverage Manager about this, and he said he’d look into it, but it never materialized. Service. Our butler (Lazaro), concierge (Dilip) and steward (Jonex) were great. We had sent a letter in advance asking for help in setting up a brief Bon Voyage party/toast. We didn’t arrive at the port until 5 pm, and the party was set for 6:45. I had my doubts about it getting set up, having read reports that such requests are typically ignored, but everything was ready and perfect. We had to tender in Icy Strait Point because the Norwegian Joy behemoth was in port. Dilip arranged priority tendering for our entire party of eight. The bus crew in the buffet were way too intrusive, often trying to grab one’s plate before it was finished. In dining rooms, on a couple of occasions, I had my glass of San Pellegrino ($6 a bottle with gratuity) “refreshed” with iced tap water. Fitness Center. We used the Fitness Center a couple of times. There was plenty of modern well-maintained equipment. My only criticism was that there were only 4 bikes (2 upright, 2 recumbent), making them often unavailable. In another room on Deck 12 (labeled Aerobics on the deck plan) there were a large number of bikes not in use, apparently for some sort of spinning class. Based on the demand I saw, some of these should be moved the Fitness Center. Splash Academy. There weren’t a lot of kids onboard, given that school was still in session in parts of the country. Age groups were combined. Our 8-year-old granddaughter had a blast. Her 12-year-old sister went once and did not return, not being interest in hanging out with little kids. Entertainment. Stage shows are not our thing, did not attend. The lounge and pool side performers seemed talented. Cruise Director. Don’t normally care but this guy’s voice was extremely annoying. Excursions. Icy Strait Point. We did the “Wildlife and Bear Search Tour” from Alaska Shore Excursions. We were aware that May was not the best time to see bears, but we did see a few and several eagles. The tour guide was informative and entertaining. The best option in ISP may well be whale watching, but all in our group had done a whale watching tour out of Dana Point a few years earlier. We all had fun and he dropped a few of us in Hoonah on the way back. We had beers in a brewery pub and walked back to town. Juneau. “Dogsledding on Mendenhall Glacier by Helicopter” This was our only NCL excursion. Worth every penny of it, once in a lifetime experience. Copter ride over mountains and glaciers landing on Mendenhall Glacier at the dogsled camp. We all got to take different positions on the sleds, way cool. Got to know the dogs as well. Skagway. We rented two Jeeps from DIY Jeep Tours. The jeeps had CB radios to communicate back and forth, as well as audio narration. I had also purchased Murray’s Guide to the South Klondike highway. We did a round trip to Emerald Lake in the Yukon. The rental place was a bit disorganized. Make it clear when making the reservation that you want the included lunch and be aware that you are going to have to refill the tank when you are done. This took us much farther than the White Pass Railway, we saw a lot of the same scenery and were able to stop and take pictures when we wanted to. Skagway is a nice little town and much less of a tourist trap than Ketchikan or Juneau. Ketchikan. Not much to see here, lots of opportunities to separate you from your money. Creek Street is a nice photo op. We just walked around, shopped, found a dive bar. Transfers. Embarkation. This cruise was in a tight window and half of our group didn’t get into Anchorage until late the night before embarkation. The train to Seward is quite popular be it leaves way too early to suit our late arrivals. We purchased the “Anchorage to Seward Wildlife Tour & Transfer” from Alaska Shore Experts. Nice scenery and narration along the way, a stop at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center and a 5 pm arrival at the port. It suited our needs well Disembarkation. We bought the $15 transfer to the Vancouver Airport from NCL. It was awful. We stood in line in a hot room for nearly an hour waiting to board the bus. Overall. We really liked the Jewel. If we were to cruise on Norwegian again we’d definitely seek out a Jewel class ship if it were an option. I find it ironic that it is considered a small, old ship. It carries 2367 passengers and was christened in 2005. That makes it about the same size as others ships we been on (discounting the 700 passenger Adonia) and the newest ship. It looked sharp after its dry dock. The size made it not seem crowded, didn’t see any long lines (although the concierge helped a couple of times). Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
we had 7 days inner passage cruise from Vancouver to Seward. It was our first cruise and we were very excited about it. We had a party of 5 people and booked two staterooms. According to our more experienced friends Norwegian is the best ... Read More
we had 7 days inner passage cruise from Vancouver to Seward. It was our first cruise and we were very excited about it. We had a party of 5 people and booked two staterooms. According to our more experienced friends Norwegian is the best cruise line so we decided to go with them, what a mistake...it is probably our last time with Norwegian. Let me start with the booking process. Since we had family flying from Europe, we booked our staterooms in January, and got two staterooms with the porthole. Around April, the price dropped and we were upgraded to a balcony stateroom which was nice. However, two weeks before the cruise, the price dropped even further and the balcony stateroom was cheaper than the window room we originally booked. I called Norwegian and asked if they can give any on board credit, since the price difference was around $2,500 (total or five people). However, Norwegian refused to provide any credits claiming that I already received one upgrade and no more adjustments would be made. I wrote customer support team and didn't receive any response. After a week of waiting I reached out directly to a VP of customer relationships and within two hours received a call from a rep, who apologized for not responding to an email and offered $40 on board credit for it, but no credit for a price drop. The lesson to be learnt is to wait two weeks before the cruise if you are sailing off season and the ship is not sold out. The cruise experience itself was ok, the rooms were fine, the balcony is definitely a plus. The quality of food, was mediocre but perfectly edible. We didn't go to the specialty restaurants as we didn't feel like paying extra money for ship food. Also, I believe that the food in Tzar is not cooked on board but rather reheat. In Ketchikan we didn't take any off shore excursions from the ship, but purchased city tour with a local provider on the dock. The tour was complete waste of time and money, they took us outside of the village to a parking lot, and we were waiting 30 minutes for a bears to show up, but they didn't. Then we continued to a totem park, which was not impressive. Asking a guide if there is the only totem park in the town, the guid said that it is free one. Juno was nice, but raining. we bought a gold panning and salmon baking excursion which we enjoyed. The huge disappointment which left very bad taste in our mouth was Skagway, We were supposed to dock at Skagway, but the captain decided to dock in Haines instead releasing the information that there is an oil spill in the harbor and it's not safe. The shore excursions for many people were canceled. When we arrived to Skagway by taking a ferry we learned that there was no spill and the mayor and harbor master released a statement confirming that there is no spill. We understood that the captain didn't want to dock next to a fuel barge, which doesn't make sense as the barge docks in Skagway every week. Moreover, why did he lie about the spill. So disappointed by the false information from the crew. Lost my trust in them. Another issue was the way NCL handled the shore excursions, specifically some morning excursions were canceled but the later excursions still had some availability, but the crew didn't rebook people from the morning excursions. Cruising around glaciers was nice, but there were so many people trying to take a pictures, and pushing everyone. The entertainment program was hit-and-miss: the comic had very low bar rude jokes, but the acrobatic show was awesome. One of the rare good experiences was in the Splash Academy. My 5 yo son loved it so much, so we even ended up tipping the Splash Academy staff. Another issue is new mandatory 15$ a day service charge which was imposed starting April, after I booked the cruise. At some point we couldn't wait to get off to the end of the cruise and be over with it. Alaska is amazingly beautiful, but exploring it from the ship with 2,500 strangers doesn't allow to immerse and really enjoy the nature. Probably we won't be doing anymore cruises anytime soon, and definitely not with Norwegian. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
I bought this cruise for my husbands 60th birthday to do something different as he had never been to KL, Langkawi, Penang and Phuket before. Unfortunately, it didn't leave us with too many great memories. We have done many ... Read More
I bought this cruise for my husbands 60th birthday to do something different as he had never been to KL, Langkawi, Penang and Phuket before. Unfortunately, it didn't leave us with too many great memories. We have done many cruises and maybe we have been a bit spoilt on Princess and Celebrity, but never had we been on NCL and not sure if we will ever sail with them again. Embarkation from Singapore Marina Bay Sands Cruise Centre was easy. A little unorganised but nothing to whine about. On arrival onto the ship we went to the Tsar's, which is one of the main dining areas and very spacious. It was probably the best meal we had on board the whole time. Did a quick tour of the ship and I liked the decor and nothing felt too crowded, it was refurbished in 2018. Afternoon we had to do the normal safety briefing and then we decided to go to one of the bars and have a beer and cider. Holly molly, the cost for these 2 basic drinks was ridiculous. As everything is in US dollars, you also need to add the 20% mandatory gratuity and then for us Aussies, do the 30% difference in exchange rate, the 2 basic drinks cost us $22 AUD for basic leadin beer and cider. If you can purchase a package with drinks included, it is the way to go. Our deal was so cheap without drinks, it wasn't worth to pay the big difference in fare, but it just made it hard to justify spending so much on drink purchases. I did purchase a 4 bottle wine pack for $80 US plus grats and exchange, it was still expensive but saved us a bit on board. FYI for anyone who doesn't know, NCL will not allow you to bring anything (including water etc), onto the ship apart from wine, champagne which will incur the US15 corkage fee. Anyone wanting to purchase a drinks package onboard, US99 per person per day plus 20% gratuity plus then again convert to AUD. The most expensive drink package we have ever seen on any ship, and we have been on quite a few different ones. Dining on board: Went mostly to Tsar's main dining for lunch and dinner when we could. First day was great but from then on it was really hit and miss like the rest of the ship. Tried also the buffet, which was okay and on one night we went to Azura. We waited a long time for our meal here and also, it was very stuffy. I preferred Tsar's. In room dining, we preordered the coffee etc for the morning, otherwise any other in room dining you have to pay for. Desserts - don't know what is going on there but not one great dessert was to be had anywhere on the ship. A few other people made the same comment. Cabin Steward: He was wonderful and tried to do everything to keep us happy. First time I had ever been on a ship when the cabin steward didn't come and introduce themselves on the first day. He did manage to get us use of a coffee machine so we can boil water for the hot water bottle (bad back). That was very useful. Bed was comfortable and bathroom was larger than normal. It was always kept wonderfully clean. Staff on board: Some were fantastic and really wanted to look after you. Others, couldn't care less. Also, it seems that NCL just doesn't let them make any decisions on their own, but they have to check with a Supervisor who then has to check with someone else. Never experienced this before either. Example of the issue for us (and seen other people having issues), with the wine pack I bought, you were given 4 vouchers and a choice of 8 wines. On the vouchers they wrote what wine you may wish to have, but was advised no issue to change to one to the others in the pack if you like one more than the other. OMG. who would ever think changing from one wine to other would be an issue. I know better now. Entertainment: As most days we were off the ship, didn't experience much on board. Went to a few shows which were good. The magician was terrible. Shore excursions: Do yourself and favour and either a) organise your own private tours before you leave home or b) just go with taxis when you arrive and haggle. Shore excursions onboard where minimum double the price of what you could get on your own. Ports: Port Klang for KL. We did overnight here so the first day did a private half day tour of Port Klang area and then had the same wonderful driver to the following full day in KL. Very enjoyable and Robbie our drive was fantastic to deal with. Took us anywhere we wanted to go and was so flexible. Had some wonderful street food also. Langkawi - outside the gate there are heaps of taxi drivers waiting for you, or, you can pay the $15 US return bus ticket to be dropped off at the Aquarium which is just across the road from the main beach, heaps of restaurants and shops. Be aware the shops don't have much these days in the way of bargains or shopping. All the same and it has changed alot in the 4 years since I was there last time. Penang - as you are right in the centre of town, you can just walk around, get a taxi outside the gate and do whatever. We opted for another full day private tour as it was my husbands 60th. Had another fantastic driver that took us to many sights and places while telling alot of funny jokes on the way. It was a wonderful day out. Phuket - our tender was to Patong, and if you get up early and get one of the first few, there was no wait at all. At the jetty in Patong you will have to run the gauntlet of taxi drivers and people trying to sell you stuff. We hired a driver for 5 hours and went driving and saw a few sights. You can also just spend the day on the beach which is right beside the jetty also. Phuket is not my favourite places and would prefer to go back to Penang and go to Batu Ferringhi beach instead. (Also NCL before leaving home, we asked then 2 times where we would be docking and was told both times it was the Deep Sea Port, but onboard the advised with was always Patong. Not sure how they could get this wrong. Deep Sea Port is 45 minute drive away. Disembarkation was quick and easy and as we always try to walk off our own luggage, we could leave at any time. Be aware that the taxis from Marina Bay Sands Cruise centre charge a minimum fee of $55 during peak time. Overall we had a good time but not great. We won't rush back at all to experience NCL again. If they didn't charge so much for everything on board, got a little bit more flexible and tried to improve the food a bit more, it would be a wonderful experience. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We chose this cruise based primarily on the itinerary. In summary we had a good vacation despite a few notable shortcomings with Norwegian. We found the ship to be very relaxing with a good mix of entertainment options, public spaces like ... Read More
We chose this cruise based primarily on the itinerary. In summary we had a good vacation despite a few notable shortcomings with Norwegian. We found the ship to be very relaxing with a good mix of entertainment options, public spaces like casino, bars, pool, etc; and nice private spaces - our stateroom was the perfect size for our family of 3 (larger than the Celebrity cruise we took a few years back). Service onboard was generally adequate. Many guest facing folks were nice, and enthusiastic. However, there was a higher proportion of staff on this cruise who simply weren't as friendly as they should have been. Specialty restaurant waitstaff were generally underwhelming. Front desk / reception was a challenge (they were not able to help on really the only 2 issues that came up for us). Not only could they not help, but they definitely did not display empathy nor the desire to go out of their way to come up with creative solutions. Check-in in Hong Kong was not as described - we arrived around 12:30 and were issued a queue number, ended up waiting about 2 hours to get checked in and onboard. Once we were called to check in, the process was quick and efficient. I was surprised and uncomfortable with the fact that they collected our passports (and kept them) at the boarding door. I don't think this was communicated ahead of time, and in general was not something I felt good about. When I asked why this was happening, the woman literally laughed at me - perhaps a language/culture barrier problem but off-putting nonetheless. Food - was OK, definitely a mixed bag. Leathery bacon at the buffet - consistently. Ice cream machines that couldn't keep up with demand (serving liquidy soft serve). Chin Chin's was in general not tasty (we ordered 5 different entrees among 4 adults) and the only one that tasted good was the sweet/sour pork. Cagney's steak was supremely disappointing - meat quality was mid-market grocery store level (think safeway or albertson's "choice" cuts). The silver lining in this cloud was the notion that since the food wasn't great, we didn't overeat. Ever. I overheard other adults making similar statements. With about 3 days remaining onboard, we found there were some things they were running out of. No pineapple at the buffet. No lemons for iced tea. No sprinkles for ice cream. These seem like small things, but they are the little things that make a vacation great or less-than-great. Excursions - the selection was a bit thin. Too many similar outings to temples across the various ports. Would have been nice to have a few more cultural viewpoints that were more diversified. Also, our experience in Cambodia was not good - a beach with no amenities and a market with no amenities. Other tours were too limited in availability and we did not get our reservation in on time. The brightest shining stars on this cruise: 1) The cabin was large (we had a mini suite balcony - essentially one room with a curtain divider between the bed and the pull-out sofabed). Much nicer than our previous experience on Celebrity. The fact that it has recently been renewed I think helped. 2) Our 6-year old absolutely loved the Kids Club. We literally couldn't pull her away. The staff were all amazing, engaging, fun. Lots of great activities. This was our first Norwegian cruise and while we didn't hate it, they also didn't make a good enough impression on us to convince us to stop trying new cruise lines. Our next cruise likely won't be with Norwegian. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
NCL Jewel South East Asia March 2019 - 12 day cruise. We are a couple from Montreal, Canada and travelling with a 6-yr old who enjoys adventure and travel as much as we do. This is not our first cruise, but first time on an NCL cruise. ... Read More
NCL Jewel South East Asia March 2019 - 12 day cruise. We are a couple from Montreal, Canada and travelling with a 6-yr old who enjoys adventure and travel as much as we do. This is not our first cruise, but first time on an NCL cruise. TRAVEL AGENCY We booked this cruise through a travel agency thinking that there could be some benefits that we could not otherwise access. None that I can see, but $100 to open our files. Once I gave my credit card info, my stateroom was booked, at the very front of the ship ( yes - the bow, and steps further ahead you are in the ocean) without my knowledge. I have just read an interesting article going over one of the most exciting step in the cruise is finding and booking the stateroom. Well not for us, and could do nothing to change it, without paying extra. This is a 294m ship long, with the buffet restaurant at the other end of the ship, and most other activities in mid-ship. This became, by default, our daily walking exercise. The last 2 days of the cruise, the ship was going through rough seas and I can tell you that it was not pleasant to be at either end of the ship. We opted to prepay the ship service charge and going for the unlimited beverage package, to avoid the pressure of thinking twice before ordering drinks. This package does not include freshly pressed fruit juices, bottled water or alcoholic drinks over US$15. RESEARCH I must have spent 100's of hours planning, researching and documenting to plan for this NCL South East Asia cruise. Info that I extracted from internet is very fragmented, incomplete, and at times contradictory. Many coming from some arrogant contributors. SOME TIPS Things that we brought along 1. Travel Adaptors (Canada uses 110-120V, Far East 220-240V) Just make sure that your electronic devices are dual voltage. The Adaptor is just a device to make your electronics fit in the holes. Adaptors are not power converters. 2. Battery Chargers (must be with your carry on, NOT allowed in checked-in Luggage) 3. Spare unlocked smart phone (used as hotspot for other devices and laptops to connect to ) 4. Photocopy Passport ( 40cs colour copy at Office Depot). NCL keeps all Passports and return them on the day prior to final destination. You will need a copy of your passport if you buy a SIM card. If crumpled, difficult for the SIM card cashier to scan to complete your purchase). If offshore and requested by local authorities, you need to show your room card key and a govt picture ID. This is where the copy passport also comes in handy. 5. Deet Insect Repellent. We got bitten just once (luckily!) close to the docks at dusk. 6. Roll of toilet paper (off shore excursions). 7. Singapore $300 in cash (CAD306) for 2 days. 8. Thai Bhat 8,000 in cash (CAD365) for 2 days 9. Hong Kong $4,000 in cash (CAD706) for 4 days. We did self-guided tours for Singapore, Thailand and Hong Kong. You can certainly use less cash and more credit. We used credit cards for hotels/lodgings and higher value purchases in reliable establishments. Canadians do not need visa for these 3 countries above. For Cambodia and Vietnam, while self-guided tours are possible, if you stay close to the Port, we opted to book local tour guides to play it safe. PRE-PLANNING We online ordered a SIM card (Smart Comfort - SIM Card Asia) from SIM OPTIONS for US$39.90 + 9.90 = US$49.80 (CAD$68.45) delivered to our Hotel in Singapore. This gives us 12GB internet, 3G+ connection, valid for 30 days from first use, plug and play and valid for Singapore, Vietnam and Hongkong. The card will barely work where the ship docks, with fluctuating on-off signals. On land, and just simple emails, you would be ok. I am used to 135Mbps download speed at home, and that SIM card speed is nowhere comparable, but nevertheless acceptable and useful when on shore. If you find the speed too slow, relatively easy to buy sim in all 3 countries above. Singapore sells the 3-day sim at 7-11 convenience store (they all speak English) for S$13. I bought a sim in Phu My, Vietnam at a phone store, 10 mins taxi ride from the cruise port, for 140,000 VD (CAD$8). I wanted their fastest data SIM card for minimum of 3 days. Could not get myself understood, even with the help of Google Translate on my phone. My taxi driver with his very limited English, rescued me. They did not accept payment in US$. Once again, driver came to the rescue and lent me local money. HEADING TOWARDS CRUISE From our hotel in Singapore, we took a taxi to the Marina Cruise Centre. If you let Hotel concierge book the taxi for you, they do not tell you that there is a S$2 fee to your cab fares. Lots of taxis coming in to drop passengers off, all the time, that we took instead. We arrived at the Cruise Centre just after 2 pm, with a huge line up, with a good number of NCL staff to welcome and guide us. We left our tagged luggages at the entrance, and got them later just outside our stateroom. We got in the queue while filling up our profile forms and authorization for NCL to charge for Cambodia and Vietnam visa. (No Thailand visa required for Canadians). When we completed our forms, well over 200 people had joined the queue after us. US$89 per person for visa to go ashore in Sihanoukville, Cambodia is crazily expensive, given that this is only a one day (actually only 6-7 hours since ship leaves at 5pm) offshore excursion and total ripoff by NCL US$69 per person for visa to go ashore in Vietnamese ports is equally brutal in price. For a family of 3, the cost of these 2 visa would be a hefty US$474 (CAD640) We will now include this visa factor when evaluating costs for future cruises. Internet research to procure a visa for these 2 countries revealed it is easier said than done, as there are misleading, contradicting and incomplete information in any cruise forums/Trip advisor, and even "official" site. NCL takes advantage of this visa situation to make some good easy money from us all. Some reliable post claims that Celebrity cruise charges a single digit visa fee per person. Besides the very long wait in the queue, actual check-in was painless and our pictures were taken that would be used when embarking and disembarking the ship. We were told that NCL would use these same pictures taken for visa purposes. We downloaded the NCL app to view features of the ship and facilities offered. The app is only focused on advertising for their paid restaurants and offshore excursions. The rest is totally useless. No other pertinent information that’s worth hanging on to the app. 2 hours later, we finally went onboard. Our stateroom was ready when we got on board, reasonably clean and fully equipped. 2 single beds - Let housekeeping join them together to make a queen size bed, or the beds will somehow separate by next morning! Child wall overhead foldable bed 30” Flat TV Shower stall, toilet & sink. Shower gel and shampoo dispenser Soap bar, body lotion. Bath towels and beach towels Tissue paper Toilet paper (Dollar store quality) Safe (did not work), hair dryer, hangers, ice bucket. 2 bottled water labelled $5.50 each Mini fridge Room thermostat. Shelves to store stuffs. Two pouffes Two night tables with lamps. Three outlets on each of the 2 mini workspace: For laptop, double usb and a 3-prong. We used our travel adapter on the 3-prong outlets for charging other dual voltage devices. As we moved the night table around to maximize space, we found a pair of sunglasses behind, which we handed to our housekeeper. This therefore tells us that the room is not necessarily spick and span, as one would have liked it to be. Housekeeping is done daily. Twice daily actually. At about 5pm there was a mandatory drill regarding safety protocol where everyone has to attend (staff updating attendance register to ensure everyone attended) for about 30 mins. Ordering drinks at the bar was painless as our adult card keys were marked with the prepaid beverage code. We only needed to show 1 card to order for our 2 drinks. Long line up on the very first day. ONBOARD INTERNET NCL has a number of options, all crazily expensive. - Unlimited WIFI US$25.50 per day online purchase prior to cruise (Otherwise US$29.99) No VPN, no streaming. - Unlimited WIFI with VPN and streaming US$29.50 per day online purchase prior to cruise (Otherwise US$34.99) - 250 Anytime minutes for US$105 online purchase prior to cruise (Otherwise US$125). No VPN and no streaming. Need to log out when done, to stop the minutes counter. Note that for the unlimited options above, you will have to pay for the entire duration of the cruise, as there is no pro-rata charge. You therefore cannot purchase for a few days only, as I originally thought I could do. It's all or nothing unlimited package. After the 4th day of the cruise, the unlimited options are no longer available. Signals strength is best in common areas, but works to a lesser degree in the stateroom. Our first day on the ship was very promising and eager to start our adventure ... On the second day, a sea day, at 6am we were surprised that the Garden Cafe, and other restaurants were not open. Later in the same morning, we went to the restaurant reservation and politely enquired about opening hours of restaurants, to plan our offshore excursions. Arlene, on the customer service, raised her ducky squeeky voice to reply with such an attitude that took us all by surprise. For sure one of the worst staff we have ever encountered on any cruise ship. Ever. She sometimes worked at Chin Chin restaurant that my 6-yr old avoided like the pest. Seriously! We then realized that many of the staff, in general, on board the NCL Jewel are either ill-mannered or totally did not give a . Very cold treatment at the Tsar restaurant before we got seated. On the eve of the last day, on Friday Mar 15, at 7.54pm, I ordered a Scotch at the Atrium and the barman stated that he will give me a premium Scotch. I responded, that as long as I do not get billed, since I have a prepaid package. He stated that he will key in a lower grade Scotch. Another barman called vmal murmured, loud enough for me to hear: "Why such a fuss? This is the last night of the cruise" and turned his back on me without me having a chance to respond. I am flabbergasted with these kind of remarks. They sometimes forget that we are the customer. CRUISE REVIEW 1. The itinerary to South East Asia is splendid. 2. The ship itself has been renovated recently and feels like new. 3. Our stateroom was small but descent and contains everything one would require. 4. Staff attitude is perhaps one of the triggering point in liking or not liking a cruise line. While there are many lovely and polite staff on board, there is an equal if not more unpleasant staff on the NCL Jewel. Too many. 5. Process for check-in takes way too long. 6. The charge for visa is grossly exaggerated. 7. There is limited upfront information to a lot of things. The actual location where the ship docks at each port seems to be kept in secrecy. I arranged for a driver to pick us up in Phu My, Vietnam (as indicated on all documents we have) and have a nasty surprise that we docked at Cai Mep and had difficulty to contact the driver for this new location. In Sihanoukville, Cambodia we walked from the docks to the gate to meet our guide. In fact, there is a free shuttle to the gate but it was not advertised. What was advertised was $15 shuttle from docks to the City. 8. Going ashore using tender (In Ko Samui, Thailand) is a nightmare. Chaotic and totally disorganized. 9. Everyday struggle at the Garden Cafe Buffet to find a table, as the restaurant is too small to cater for the number of passengers. 10. Only a couple of good night entertainment show, and the rest is mediocre. Overall, the worst cruise line experience we have had. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We are two 50 something sisters on our first trip to Asia. The Jewel was perfect for us with many activities on board that appealed to each of us. One sister is a Vegan and we were introduced to our pre-order contact the first night. ... Read More
We are two 50 something sisters on our first trip to Asia. The Jewel was perfect for us with many activities on board that appealed to each of us. One sister is a Vegan and we were introduced to our pre-order contact the first night. Joy was fantastic and although he had many special diet parties on board, he took the time to customize our pre-orders. The only bad dish we had was in La Cucina and it was the risotto dish from the menu - it was so salty it was inedible. We've read the other reviews and were not dissapointed in this cruise at all. The service was fine. The shore excursions we took were fine and we took advantage of the Shore-ex credit and the beverage package. With the hot weather, we did buy a lot of bottled water - which does add up cost wise. Embarkation involved several lines, but check in with NCL went quickly. The Singapore immigration line moved at a snails pace which of course is out of NCL'[s control. We had lunch in the MDR and our room was ready at about 1:00pm. One of our bags didn't show up before dinner so I went looking for it. It was in a holding room because my contact lens liquids were thought to be cans of beer - ha! Previous Cruise Critic reviews and our roll call were both a wealth of information - so we were not surprised by the charges for the Vietnam and Cambodian visas. We chose not to get them directly from the California embassies. We also knew that Ha Long Bay was no longer a tender port because a new international pier had opened several months ago. We also knew that Koh Samui was the only tender port and that 2 other 2,000 passenger ships were in that day. When NCL cancelled the shore excursion we had booked, we found a private tour and were concerned about meeting on time. Again, Cruise Critic helped us out. We went to the Meet & Greet the day before and were informed that there would be 6 lifeboat tenders. A member from the previous cruise from Sydney asked about Latitudes assistance and the officers contacted Cruise Next staff to make it happen. We met early and this is the only reason we made our private tour and were back just before the return tender problems. The tender problems in Koh Samui were very poorly handled. When we saw local tenders and ship tenders still coming back at 6:30, we knew it was bad news. What we heard from others was terrible. Standing in that heat on a pier for 3 hours is inexcusable. As others have noted in their reviews, the Captain didn't address the issue until two nights later and basically said it was up to the port, not his fault. And that at our last port we would stay an extra hour until 9:00pm. Ridiculous. On our second Thailand shore excursion, we went to Pattaya where the main attraction is the Sanctuary of Truth. It was good, but we had to endure a local guide instead of our shore ex guide. Then we were taken to a jeweler mall to shop. This should have been disclosed. It was a complete waste of time, but was air conditioned. The shore ex manager's response was that all Thailand tours go to jewelry malls just like carpet factories in Turkey. Huh, we were on a tour in Bangkok the day before and no jewelry mall. Singapore and Ha Long Bay were the highlights of the cruise. We took the ship junk cruise excursion and thought it was a great value. We also had a fantastic local guide on the boat. The junks met up at the ship instead of on the pier. We went in the afternoon, which seemed to be a bit less hectic than what we saw in the morning. Best tip for this port, is to be up early when the ship sails through the bay - magical. As others have mentioned, the production show were great. The Thai show was good as was Frenchie Davis. Karaoke was fun the first couple of nights. The other music acts in the bars were not as good as on other NCL ships, but the show band was quite good. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We chose this cruise to coincide with school holidays as we took two of our 4 children with us aged 10 & 14. This was a bad idea as they were bored the whole trip. The kids club was mainly playing video games and this didn’t interest ... Read More
We chose this cruise to coincide with school holidays as we took two of our 4 children with us aged 10 & 14. This was a bad idea as they were bored the whole trip. The kids club was mainly playing video games and this didn’t interest them. So I had to entertain my kids. It was not much of a holiday for me tbh. If you were over 50 then this trip is perfect from the music to the classes for origami and vegetables carving. Even the shows were ABBA and Elton John . The shows were good but my kids were not impressed. Johnny Balance was onboard doing magic and is fantastic as well as funny and cute to boot. Being an American ship the gratuities were about $15 per person per room per day which was about $900. Beware of gratuities when booking a cruise. The good coffee was about $5 US but was worth it. The food was amazing too and there was plenty of variety. My girls had to sleep on a fold out lounge that was as hard as a rock. I don’t know how they got any sleep at all. The tours are an absolute ripoff. It is better to wait till you get to each port and do your own thing. Every port has a free shuttle bus to take you into town where you can hire a taxi to take you to the places you would like to see and it would still work out cheaper that the price they charge onboard. Remembering that it is in US dollars and the cheapest tour was $65 each to the aquarium. When we got there they have a big sign saying a family of four is $60. It cost us $260 US onboard, what a joke. Be very careful when booking tours onboard as you don’t get anything for the money you pay. We went on a tour of one of the islands and the information being given to us by the bus driver was no different to the information written on the brochure onboard. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Went on this cruise with two friends. Generally saying the ship spent far to much time navigating from one port to the other and spent ample time when it was at a location, making it not possible to make a longer trip ashore. Also, one ... Read More
Went on this cruise with two friends. Generally saying the ship spent far to much time navigating from one port to the other and spent ample time when it was at a location, making it not possible to make a longer trip ashore. Also, one could not call it a Pacific cruise, as it only went to New Caledonia in the pacific. If you really want to do something you had to take NCL's expensive shore excursions. In my opinion it was no coincidence, in this regard, that for example the tendering at Airlie Beach started well after 08.00 am and ended about 04.30pm. This meant one could not take any excursion that could be booked ashore, these all started around 08.00 am and ended around 05.00 pm. Timewise, there was no single problem of anchoring far before 08.00 am and leaving far after 05.00 pm. The really expensive shore excursions (around US$ 290,--) were really disappointing, what I heard from participants, including a visit to the Barrier Reef, with snorkeling around dead coral. There was a lot of tendering, which gave a headache, as shore excursions went first, often taking ½-1 hour, than you had to get tender tickets at 07.00 in the morning, really nice when you had a late evening. When tendering started at for example 08.00 it would mean if you did not have tickets you might get a tender at 10.00 am or later. Also, in some of the ports you had to pay (heavily) for the bus transfer to the main town, which I find appalling, when it says in the brochure and trip description that the cruise goes to that harbour. Typical example: visit of Airlie Beach, we arrived in Yorkeys Knob and had to pay for the transfer to Airlie beach. Food was normal. Service was great of all personnel. Shows were (far) above average. Outside sport facilities were above average. No quiet pool area for adults only, just a pool for adults. Only really quiet area on board was the library, which was small. Other areas might be quiet for some time, but then always some activity was started, that was inevitably noisy. In the evening in the main dance/disco area, the spinnaker lounge, our dj Ricii did a, most of the time, horrible job with his music choice, chasing people away (so less bar sales), so generally after 11.30 pm it got pretty empty most of the time. Several people complainted about this with the cruise director, that literally said he could not do anything about it. Drinks cost (beer to cocktails) incl. the 20% mandatory tip was very high, generally from about US$ 9.-- to 15.--. Soda's sowhat cheaper. I had an all in package. A large yellowish/blue smoke cloud was visible coming from the ships chimneys, that did not disappear rightaway as water vapor does. As a engine technician I can say this smoke is not belonging to a ship of which the captain claimed during the QA on the ship that she is a clean ship in regard of exhaust emissions. See the other review visiting Milford sound. Basically I would say the cruise is ok for families with children that want to cruise for a reasonable amount of money and don't expect to go a lot ashore. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Did the 13 day South Pacific and North Queensland Cruise. Family of 4 in Aft Mini-Suite. Kids 10 and 16. The itinerary was pretty good with nice visits to Noumea, Isle of Pines (Magnificent), Lifou, Cairns, Airlie Beach, Brisbane ... Read More
Did the 13 day South Pacific and North Queensland Cruise. Family of 4 in Aft Mini-Suite. Kids 10 and 16. The itinerary was pretty good with nice visits to Noumea, Isle of Pines (Magnificent), Lifou, Cairns, Airlie Beach, Brisbane and Sydney. No need for overpriced shore excursions at any port (although due to brief stops at Cairns and Airlie Beach only the ridiculously expensive short excursions to the Great Barrier Reef were the only option to see that sight. Relatively brief stays at these far north Queensland locations. At Noumea we bought a tour bus ticket that took us to most of the local sights for aprox US$35 each bought at the cruise port office. Good value and decent stop and walk about the Cultural Centre. No need for any shore excursions at either Isle of Pines of Lifou. Both are tenders that seemed to run pretty well. Isle of PInes of the pick of the Islands and has fabulous crystal clear waters and some good snorkling. All walking distance from the tender port. At Cairns I organised to do the Skyrail Gondola online at half the price of the overpriced shore excursions. Was a really nice trip over the rainforest to the groovy town of Kilanda. Had to get up early to get early tenders for this stop. At Airlie Beach rented jetskis right at the tender port. Again had to get up early to get an early tender ticket. Norwegian charged us US$15 for the shuttle bus into Brisbane. The port was in the middle of nowhere so had no real choice. Should be included if you ask me. Food in the main dining room was really bad. We only ate there for dinner twice. Pretty much returned all our meals. Tasted very pre-prepared in advance and overcooked. Copious amounts of butter on everything. Buffet was also ordinary in my opinion. The specialty restaurants Cagneys, Teppanyaki and Italian were good. One shouldnt have to go to a specialty restaurant to get a good meal in my opinion. Meals at O'Sheehans were OK. Meals at ChinChins were OK but pretty bland. The sushi option was pretty good but again you pay for it. The ship has been well renovated at dry dock and everything looks nice and modern. BUT they've removed the waterslide - much to the kids disappointment!!!! Staff were pretty good in general but some were argumentative and surly. Entertainment hit and miss in my opinion. There should NEVER be a Michael Buble' tribute show - NEVER!!!!!!! Not much to do on sea days but sit around the pool. Very little in the way of activities. Had a few issues at disembarkation where they advertised the wrong time and we came close to missing our flights. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Norwegian jewel ,January 5/1/19 very enjoyable for first time traveling on norweigan line ,except for our cabin "HORRIBLE " We visited Noumea,isle of pine ,lifou,cairns ,Airlie beach ,and Brisbane ,my favorite would have to be ... Read More
Norwegian jewel ,January 5/1/19 very enjoyable for first time traveling on norweigan line ,except for our cabin "HORRIBLE " We visited Noumea,isle of pine ,lifou,cairns ,Airlie beach ,and Brisbane ,my favorite would have to be isle of pines ,such a pretty place and snorkeling was fantastic.Most staff were great no problems at all ,except for customer service most were not that approachable the rest were pretty friendly .Food in all area i found nothing to fault and had a good variety ,entertainment shows were fantastic lots of different shows to see.. couple of entertainers were a little boring ,others were good ,facility clean and tidy ,most excursions were as usual expensive and found similar tours much cheaper offboard We had a free drink package ,this made for a pleasant trip as expenses were cut massively what a big saving , we still had to pay for water and coffee as these weren't included, water was around $74 AU for 12x 1Lt water .my experience with our room was the most disappointed part of our trip very sleep deprived ,otherwise we loved it. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Food not the best not much variety pasta and fish ,Christmas Day some food was cold ,wouldn’t recommend ship or cruise go up to desk and take gratites off or you’ll stung for massive bill just tell you tip who you won’t to tip ... Read More
Food not the best not much variety pasta and fish ,Christmas Day some food was cold ,wouldn’t recommend ship or cruise go up to desk and take gratites off or you’ll stung for massive bill just tell you tip who you won’t to tip yourself ,watch one major travel company who will try and get to sign up to gratitudes before you get on ship ,wouldn’t recommend ship to anybody everything is expensive ,drinks served up with no imagination ,food boring entertainment no good no coffe card tours are to expensive ,the Chinese restraint was terrible no flavour ,no wonder the restraint was empty most nights ,with the roast turkey for lunch on the 12 th floor no roast vegetables on Christmas Day chips only could you imagine Christmas Day with chips sweet weren’t to bad asked for custard they promise everything and deliver nothing caramel sauce full of sugar ,look for a better ship Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Food in buffet very ordinary club standard, sometimes less. Finding somewhere to sit was a feral activity like an overcrowded food court in a shopping centre at lunchtime a few days before Christmas. Food in restaurants was average. Bar ... Read More
Food in buffet very ordinary club standard, sometimes less. Finding somewhere to sit was a feral activity like an overcrowded food court in a shopping centre at lunchtime a few days before Christmas. Food in restaurants was average. Bar service was poor, staff generally unfriendly and understaffed. Waited >15mins to be served and paying 20% service charge for no service. Waiters brought a different drink to the one ordered (because it was claimed to be out of stock) without checking with the customer first. This happened at least 3 times in different lounges. Restaurant service also poor in some instances - cold food, wrong drinks. Unimaginative on board activities during sea days. Chin Chin Asian restaurant is false advertising. Very limited "complimentary" (included in fare) choices on menu and I, a lousy cook can cook better. Cabin steward service ok but had to find own toilet paper from the trolley outside. Entertainment (stage shows) ok. Daily newsletter should have next port information which it didn't. Ship advertised as 4 star but overall a 3 star experience at best and no star at worst. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
This was my second Norwegian cruise. Norwegian is pretty low cost and has some good itineraries that make it appealing especially in some of the areas where the ports seem to be more expensive (Baltic and Australia seem to cost more per ... Read More
This was my second Norwegian cruise. Norwegian is pretty low cost and has some good itineraries that make it appealing especially in some of the areas where the ports seem to be more expensive (Baltic and Australia seem to cost more per day than Med or caribbean). This ship was less crowded (it was a pretty full ship but the spaces seemed better matched to its carrying capacity) than the last time but the staff was weaker, the food more bland and the entertainment weak and repetitive. This was a decent ship with a good port itinerary and ok crowding and our room was ok size and bathroom was good. however Safe in our room was broken and they did nothing to fix it except take notes. Staff was weak at service and solving problems or dealing with requests. Food was weak in cafeteria and main restaurant. Specialty dining food was good though. It seemed like they made the regular food weak so you would buy the specialty dining. Entertainment was weak and repetitive - almost the same show repackaged 10 of 15 nights. All basic song and dance routines except 1 comedian, 1 hypnotist and 2 duo song/comedy shows. Pool was closed often for non understandable reasons and impossible to tell if it was open or closed without trekking up there. Music was loud above our room every night - after 3 nights of complaining and after i suggested maybe they could turn it down at 10pm they did do that the 4th night - and it worked. but on the 5th it was back up and i was not able to get them to adjust it again. most staff are hopeless notetakers saying yes sir, yes sir but intending to do nothing. We had 4 sea days and very little organized extra activities. One day there was bridge in a decent space but they would not offer it again. i dont know if htey were lazy or not competent when we asked about it. The 2 things that will prevent me from cruising Norwegian again were 1. the noise above our room every night not addressed and 2. strange blocking of our access around the ship every day at port (combined with a strange configuration of elevators and stairs). The elevator configuration does not help where one set of elevators did not reach our floor and neither did one set of stairways. For the first week i was forever getting stuck in a stairway with now way out. I would take the stairs down from deck 8 to deck 6, get stuck, have to go back up to deck 8, walk to the back of the ship, go down the stairs to deck 5 then walk back to the front of the ship to my room. I also had to do this the first 3 times we stopped in a port just to get off the boat. Luckily after a few days they improved their instructions to their staff to let us out from deck 5. But it took a lot of complaining. most staff i spoke to just didnt care - it wasnt their job to ask questions. There were a number of issues like this where the staff was unhelpful it seemed because they are micromanaged. For example the pool was often closed for "rough weather" - but there was no way of knowing 1. what was the measure of rough weather to close, 2. was it closed now (i had to go up to deck 12 and look (did i mention getting stuck in the stairwell many times on the way back), 3. when it was opened again (or when they expected it to open or re-asses - i had to go back up to deck 12 to look - did i mention getting stuck in the stairwell again). Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Joined this cruise as a friend was looking to share a cabin with. Generally saying the ship spent to much time navigating from one port to the other and spent ample time when it was at a location, making it not possible to make a longer ... Read More
Joined this cruise as a friend was looking to share a cabin with. Generally saying the ship spent to much time navigating from one port to the other and spent ample time when it was at a location, making it not possible to make a longer trip ashore. If you really want to do something you had to take NCL's expensive shore excursions. For example: Auckland docked 12.00 pm, which does not mean you can get off the ship at that time, there is paperwork to be done and the NCL shore excursion people go first. (This is especially time consuming when tendering, which was not the case with Auckland) aboard latest 07.30 pm. This for the major city of New Zealand? Food was normal. Service was great of all personnel. Shows were (far) above average. Outside sport facilities were above average. No quiet pool area for adults only, just a pool for adults. Only really quiet area on board was the library, which was small. Other areas might be quiet for some time, but then always some activity was started, that was inevitably noisy. In the evening in the main dance/disco area, the spinnaker lounge, our dj Ricii did a, most of the time, horrible job with his music choice, chasing people away (so less bar sales), so generally after 11.30 pm it got pretty empty most of the time. Several people complainted about this with the cruise director, that literally said he could not do anything about it. Drinks cost (beer to cocktails) incl. the 20% mandatory tip was very high, generally from about US$ 9.-- to 15.--. Soda's sowhat cheaper. I had an all in package. Visiting Milford sound there was no wind, and a large yellowish smoke cloud was visible coming from the ships chimneys, that did not disappear. As a engine technician I can say this smoke is not belonging to a ship of which the captain claimed during the QA on the ship that she is a clean ship in regard of exhaust emissions. Photo's are included. Basically I would say the cruise is ok for families with children that want to cruise for a reasonable amount of money. I also did the cruise after this one, so check that one for addition remarks on that cruise. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
No words for this cruise. No basics like sugar salt or pepper unless you hunt someone down for them. Service is the worst I’ve ever received at sea. An hour and a half for a kids pizza . If you want vegemite they bring out a jar that you ... Read More
No words for this cruise. No basics like sugar salt or pepper unless you hunt someone down for them. Service is the worst I’ve ever received at sea. An hour and a half for a kids pizza . If you want vegemite they bring out a jar that you share with other passengers. An hour and a half wait for breakfast in the main dining room. Staff have no interest in helping passengers. If you want a warm meal you need to pay for the speciality restaurants. Way below the standard of royal and carnival In Australia . Water slides were removed which would have been evident when we booked but cruise line failed to mention this when Booking. Very misleading for families. Beds are like sleeping on concrete slabs. Service at dinner is so slow that you miss any shows that are on in the evening. Norwegian have a long way to go to even come close to what the other cruise lines are offering. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Having sailed more than 100 days on numerous cruise lines such as Royal Caribbean, Carnival, P&O, Holland America, Celebrity and Princess the Norwegian Jewel was a floating biosecurity nightmare. With staff from officers, medical and ... Read More
Having sailed more than 100 days on numerous cruise lines such as Royal Caribbean, Carnival, P&O, Holland America, Celebrity and Princess the Norwegian Jewel was a floating biosecurity nightmare. With staff from officers, medical and security disregarding biosecurity and completely disregarding the company's own policy and procedures in providing a healthy cruise ship environment. In a party of seven passengers, three of us were struck down with the acute gastroenteritis outbreak, that is nearly half, so exactly how many passengers were affected I can only wonder. The Jewel had a recent refurbishment in Singapore and we had a mini suite, which in the end was the only saving grace of this cruise.Sailing from Sydney the ship was fresh with new furnishings and decor. Entertainment was fair with two good shows and the piano player was excellent. Food was good in the speciality restaurants except the Chin Chin. On the second day of sailing I was standing under a huge umbrella near the pool when it collapsed due to winds, the umbrella crashed down on my head,luckily I suffered only soft tissue injuries, but there was no follow up by staff on my wellbeing which to say the least was disappointing. People were being struck down with acute gastroenteritis in the first few days which points to passengers who sailed on the previous cruise and combined this cruise were probably the carriers. The first member of our party to be struck down happened 3 days into the cruise. She was isolated for 24hrs, her husband was also supposed to be insolation, but this did not occur and he was in fact allowed of the ship in different ports. Due to the escalation of the outbreak a day later when my wife was struck down she was isolated for 48 hrs. Meaning myself and her sister were also isolated for 48hrs in the cabin. Missed ports and security telling us to stay in the cabin was just infuriating and akin to house arrest. Our cabin had to be robustly cleaned and after 36 hrs not having contracted the virus I ventured to the buffet and within 8 hrs I was struck down with acute gastroenteritis. Another 48 hrs of lockdown with security again telling us we were confined to our cabin. So 96 hrs or 4 days of our cruise wasted,missed ports, frustrated doctors, unhappy staff and deprivation of liberty. I have stated the biosecurity failures of which I pointed out to both doctors and security both departments shrugged their shoulders with disregard. I was told to contact head office regarding this failure of policy and procedure that protects cruise passengers. It was the fact that 100's of passengers had their own drink bottles and flasks containing their own teas, herbs, tonics etc. These bottles/flasks were taken everywhere, on and off the ship, into toilets, into buffets, restaurants, everywhere. These bottles/flasks were refilled at the drink stations and if they were contaminated the drink stations would then be contaminated. When the status of Norovirus was raised and no self service of food was allowed, staff would take these bottles and flasks and refill them at the same drink stations for the passengers. This is completely in contradiction to the Norwegian policy of guests prohibited from bringing any bottled water or beverages on board the company's ships in either carry-on or checked luggage. Norwegian stated that that this policy brings the company in line with other best practices in travel security protocols. I contacted Norwegian for a refund, I basically was told to suck it up. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Itinery was good, until they changed the whole 19 days , the day before we sailed. This ship had the worst service, worst food and as far as things to do on board,,,,bored,bored,bored. Its all about making as much money as they can on ncl. ... Read More
Itinery was good, until they changed the whole 19 days , the day before we sailed. This ship had the worst service, worst food and as far as things to do on board,,,,bored,bored,bored. Its all about making as much money as they can on ncl. When you complained about things they just say thanks for your feedback. We got off after 9 nights, this was a 19 night cruise. Never had such rude staff, bland boring food. No one was happy on board. The woman at Azure dining room didnt even greet you at night, just looked at you. Buffet staff didnt help cleaning tables etc. Didn't have range of beer, and what they did have was flat. If you complained to pool deck bar staff, they just ignored you and walked away then charged you for drinks you didn't even have, another argument with concierge staff. Don 't know how they can take your money, then change itinery to below what you had booked for. Seats in theatre were so low down, shows were ok. Started repeating acts. I would never recommend to anyone, we have been on several cruises with other lines and they were all great. So many unhappy people on board, glad we disembarked half way through wasn't going to stay another night on the cruise from hell. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
In 2017 we sailed on the Norwegian Getaway, in the Haven, and it was terrific. Everything went well. But, this year we chose the Jewel for the itinerary and it was not even in the same league as the Getaway (again, we were in the Haven). ... Read More
In 2017 we sailed on the Norwegian Getaway, in the Haven, and it was terrific. Everything went well. But, this year we chose the Jewel for the itinerary and it was not even in the same league as the Getaway (again, we were in the Haven). Started out trying to get onboard. Should have had "priority" check-in. Took about 6 agents before someone actually knew there was a priority check-in line and where it was. The Jewel had a "mini-Haven" (no restaurant or lounge) but we knew that in advance. Had a special place for breakfast and lunch but not for dinner or a bar. Turned out to be a bigger deal than we thought. The TV rarely worked correctly. Even the ship navigation page had the wrong information on it to include time of day - which was kind of important since we crossed time zones twice. The TV does not have an account status page and that was a real downer. Communications delivered to the cabin were often incorrect or conflicting. It was like the ship staff did not communicate with the hotel staff. The sundry shop was part of the duty free store so you could not get a pack of aspirin when you were in port. But, the worst thing was the internet. We bought the all-you-can-eat package since one of us had to connect with work during the cruise. The internet was so slow the VPN timed out before it could make a connection. Could not get to email because comcast streams videos so they blocked comcast. BUT, we tried to book two future cruises (on a different ship) and they could not do it because their internet was too slow!!! However, the staff was outstanding! Even better than the year prior and I didn't think that was possible. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
Norwegian Jewel Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 4.1
Dining 4.0 3.8
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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