83 Norwegian Jewel Family Cruise Reviews

We were aboard the Jewel for the annual repositioning cruise from Alaska to the winter itinerary. There were several really great things about the ship that deserve 5 stars. But there were also several dismal things about the ship that ... Read More
We were aboard the Jewel for the annual repositioning cruise from Alaska to the winter itinerary. There were several really great things about the ship that deserve 5 stars. But there were also several dismal things about the ship that deserve 0 stars. First, the good news. I was highly impressed by the efficiency in embarkation and disembarkation. It went so smoothly! Very orderly and methodical. This was the first time that we were able to get on board at Noon, eat lunch, and go directly to our cabin by 1 PM. Disembarkation was simple too, using the Walk Off program. US Customs came onboard and the process was very easy. The ship was super-clean and tastefully decorated. The cabin was a standard balcony cabin, small but in perfect condition. The room steward, Eric, was excellent, too! Very friendly and hard working! We appreciated his efforts. End of good news. Sadly, there is more bad news than good. Let's start with the food. The breakfast buffet was always excellent, but lunch and dinner food was low quality. You could really tell that Norwegian was trying to stretch a dollar. For example, in the Azura dining room, they served scallops as an appetizer. Sounds good, right? It might have been if they weren't BAY SCALLOPS! That's right, five teeny, tiny bay scallops on a plate. If you can't serve real SEA SCALLOPS, then don't bother serving scallops at all! Cuts of meat were pounded paper thin and there were no expensive fish dishes in the main dining rooms. Lots of tilapia-type dishes, but no shrimp cocktail, lobster, etc. Unlike the luxury cruises, which of course, Norwegian is not. Now to the specialty restaurants that we tried: The Chin Chin restaurant (Asian) is horrible. I took one bite of the chicken dish and spit it out. Disgusting! If you are used to good Asian cuisine, don't bother going here, even though it is free. Cagney's Steakhouse was OK, but not great. A sad note about Cagney's - if you are a Platinum Latitudes member, you get a comp for Cagney's. This would be good BUT the comp limits you to only $35 per person. Which doesn't go far in a steakhouse. Be aware if you use the comp. The Brazilian steakhouse was the high point of dining. It is excellent. However, if you use your Latitudes comp, be aware that it only covers about one half the cost of dinner, which is typically $39 per person. The absolute WORSE thing about the ship is the Spa. What a joke. The hot tubs weren't hot, the saunas were broken, and there was a male crew member in the Ladies locker room while there were women in it getting dressed! I complained to the Spa manager, and asked for a refund. She said that she couldn't refund me for my thermal spa package, since I had bought it online, so I had to wait until I got home to call Norwegian. (I went to Guest Services onboard, though, who quickly processed a refund. Strange that they could help me but the Spa Manager could not.) My final complaint about the ship is the choice of onboard activities. I would honestly guess that half of the activities are designed to sell you something. For example, the Look 10 Years Younger seminar is a sales pitch for Botox. The Wine and Chocolate Paring is a chance to sell you a $19 sample of wine and chocolate. The list goes on and on. I was really getting tired of being "nickeled and dimed at activities", so I stopped going. We will take another Norwegian cruise for sure, but we have learned what to do, and not do, while on board these ships. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Alaska cruise was great. The ship was extremely clean, the staff goes out of their way to be friendly, The entertainment was good in quality of shows and variety. The cruise from start to finish was well organized. NCL made it easy to get ... Read More
Alaska cruise was great. The ship was extremely clean, the staff goes out of their way to be friendly, The entertainment was good in quality of shows and variety. The cruise from start to finish was well organized. NCL made it easy to get on and off the ship. The two big disappointments on the ship were 1. The food served on board the Jewel was a huge disappointment. NCL does a lot of things right but because the preparation and food was so bad we will never cruise with NCL again. If anyone from NCL is reading this don't take our word for it pull up a chair and dine in one of your restaurants. . I recommend starting in O'shea's. The 2nd disappointment was the smoke filled casino. I understand there are plenty of people that like to smoke while they gamble and I understand that. There are also some of us that don't enjoy cigarette smoke. How hard would it be to reserve a small section for non smokers. Other cruise lines do a much better job in accommodating smokers and non smokers in the casino area of the ship. Our overall experience was great. We would not select NCL again on any of our future cruises for the reasons identified above. Kind regards, Kevin. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Alaska is always a great destination, even when it was cold and rainy. But my concern is that the food on NCL seems to have gone downhill rapidly since our last cruise on the Jade last September. It was bland. Buffet looked like they ... Read More
Alaska is always a great destination, even when it was cold and rainy. But my concern is that the food on NCL seems to have gone downhill rapidly since our last cruise on the Jade last September. It was bland. Buffet looked like they had thrown together and mashed the food together from the night before on several occasions. Even the meals in the dining room sub par. My daughter had to remind the waiter on 3 occasions about missed things and one night a waiter got the orders wrong 4 different times. He just wasn't listening. Nodding his head and off he went. That happened more often then usual from our past cruises. We were Mid ship 5067 and 5069. Inside. But don't ever book anything in that area because the bars are above you and all you get until 2 in the morning is banging, sliding of equipment and noises I never knew existed. Sleep was challenging to say the least. If you have any mobility problems don't do the Thermal Spa. Trying to get in and out of the hot tubs was difficult. I wasted $186 and could only go there once. I was terrified I'd fall trying to get in and out. I was not the only one who felt that way. Others had the same concerns. Unfortunately when they refurbished by the Jewel and the Jade they left the seats in the Stardust theatre with no upgrades. When you sit down it is almost like falling onto the floor and the seats are slanted downward so it is uncomfortable. Unless there is a destination only NCL does at a decent price, I am not sure I would cruise with them again. The specialty restaurants were okay but found the ones on the Jade better. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We celebrated my 40th birthday on the cruise ship as well has a 30th wedding anniversary of a family member. The ship was extremely small and had limited shopping and things for kids to do. The outdoor activities, ping pong, golf, ... Read More
We celebrated my 40th birthday on the cruise ship as well has a 30th wedding anniversary of a family member. The ship was extremely small and had limited shopping and things for kids to do. The outdoor activities, ping pong, golf, basketball were shut down by 8pm. The arcade was basically the size of a closet. My kids are 10 and 12 and could not go to the teen club and the other kid activities were oriented for kids in diapers or toddlers. I would definitely not go on this ship again with my children. Too boring for them. The store on the ship was horrible. Poor options for clothing and prices were extremely high. The excursions we went on were definitely not worth the money we paid for them. One of the excursions was to a free park. We paid $114 each for 2 adults and $79 each for 2 children for a 20 minute bus ride to a FREE park. The amount of time spent at each port was too short to really enjoy the locations. The best thing about the ship was our cleaning staff member. He made sure our room was sparkling clean every day. He always addressed us by name. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We choose this cruise to see as much of Alaska on our vacation week as possible. This northbound cruise was in each port the longest amount of time that gave us a relaxed vacation. Our daughter took this cruise in 2017 & with ... Read More
We choose this cruise to see as much of Alaska on our vacation week as possible. This northbound cruise was in each port the longest amount of time that gave us a relaxed vacation. Our daughter took this cruise in 2017 & with all her travel experience we didn't shop around for any other cruiseline. We were pleased with our tenth deck cabin. The balcony allowed us to lounge comfortably inside. All the staff were friendly & attentive. Getting on & off the ship was easy. The only con was the ship in each port was the furthest from town. But there was transportation waiting & it was usually free. Mostly we ate breakfast at the buffet & we tried all the complimentary restaurants. The food was most disappointing There was no fresh Alaskan seafood and no pastry chef. My cherry pie was just gelatin with 1 cherry. Our two free options were the adult drink & wifi packages All bars were great the wifi is not recommendrd. The staff made every attempt to keep all well "wishy" washing at every restaurant entrance. Learned that you must get on a smaller boat to see wild life. Next trip to Alaska will be a road trip. Read Less
Sail Date June 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
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
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
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
We choose this cruise because of the ports. Originally we were supposed to be on NCL Sun and then they switched the ship. NCL Customer Service was awful and if they don't want travel agencies booking they're cruises, then they ... Read More
We choose this cruise because of the ports. Originally we were supposed to be on NCL Sun and then they switched the ship. NCL Customer Service was awful and if they don't want travel agencies booking they're cruises, then they should stop that practice. We had two medical emergencies in the first 24 hours, one via hovercraft, the second required the ship to turn around in a gale/wind storm. Person had to be airlifted. They only announced two updates during the entire rescue. We were in the pink diamond owner suite and likewise had someone in our party in the adjoining balcony stateroom 10506. Boarding in Vancouver was fairly straight forward. The only irritation was the agent yelling about no drinks allowed through security. With regard to the Haven, the small pool was nice as weather on this trip was rainy. Unfortunately other than cookies, m and m's and gummies, no other food was available in the courtyard. Breakfast and lunch were either in Moderno or Cagneys. They were good. The food in most places was lack luster. Our Butler and Stateroom Attendant made up for the lack of follow through by the concierge. They kept us informed and updated on things happening and kept our suite in top shape. As for the concierge lounge, it is storage for NCL Jewel. On Disney which we have travelled twice, they're lounge has food, drinks, coffee, and more. We were able to get on and off the ship quickly. I will say that the captains reception in the courtyard and two glacier viewing socials were nice touches. We didn't attend any shows as our kids were in bed when they started. One other thing to be aware of is that they're is a real push to sell artwork, jewelry, etc on the ship. We chose not to buy any photos as $150 seems a high price for 10 photos. Besides, they're rarely was a photographer around. We are glad we did Alaska. As for NCL, I doubt will be on another of they're cruises. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We chose this cruise mainly for NCL's Freestyle cruising, so we could eat when we wanted, drink when we wanted and just have a good time. Embarkation - sheer mess. Half our fault, half the cruise port. Taxis pull into a completely ... Read More
We chose this cruise mainly for NCL's Freestyle cruising, so we could eat when we wanted, drink when we wanted and just have a good time. Embarkation - sheer mess. Half our fault, half the cruise port. Taxis pull into a completely separate area than other modes of transportation, so we had half of our party split up (as half of us took the baggage and older people and the rest walked). One couple in our group split, but didn't hand each other passports, figuring we would meet up after baggage drop and proceed to customs. Long story short, we were all kinds of crazy meeting back up. I am disappointed that NCL doesn't have separate lanes for anything less than platinum. I feel silver and gold travelers likely have their "stuff" together and can get through embarkation quickly and easily. Also, every traveller entered from the right... had to walk in one lane past everyone else (20 or so agents), then get your card, and walk back through one lane to exit back out right again. Colossal waste of time when they could have had it flow much better. Security crew was fine... no issues getting on or off the ship in ports. Food - On the previous cruise on the sister ship, we were invited to what is on this ship only Haven dining for breakfast. I do miss the crabcakes Benedict and it was half the reason I wanted to push for Gold or Platinum levels. Overall, the Baltics cruise had a crew that was a little more caring in their preparation, and many of the ethnic dishes were cooked more "authentic" than I felt this ship had. I guess I mean that this ship had a little blander food. The curry wasn't as curried, the spicy wasn't as spicy. Maybe as someone mentioned, this was a different demographic than a Euro-crowd. Dining Staff - Without doubt, the worst crew I have experienced in my 10+ cruises. One waiter in particular in O'Sheehans wins the crown for absolute worst. Not only did he not write down my order (insisting he had it memorized), but then when every one else in a 10 person table's food had come out except mine, he acted totally indifferent when I told him I was disappointed he not only didn't get it wrong, but didn't get it at all. He then said he had put the order in correctly, and it was coming, but it didn't come for another 10 minutes making it obvious that he had to order it again for the first time. I did feel that everyone was just going through the motions on the waitstaff. I will say that Chin-Chin was the most consistent in terms of good service, although this was specifically what I thought of when I thought that some of the ethnic dishes just weren't authentic enough. Room staff - Zero complaints. Very friendly, room was always clean although I rarely saw him... I did go to a friend's balcony though, and for the price they paid, I would hope the NCL staff goes through and touches up some more of the paint and things. Lots of chips and cracks and was not as clean as our inside cabin. Ports... Skagway and Juneau were awesome! Had the best clam chowder ever in Juneau, and Jamison from Chilkoot Tours made our Skagway tour awesome. We didn't have a plan in Ketchikan and ended up taking a "shuttle" bus from one of the vendors just off the ship. It was ok but not anything special. It was the tour guide's first day though. Fitness equipment - The gym was packed at peak times, which was fine, I didn't REALLY want to work out or I would have gone at a non-peak time. The basketball hoops were in disrepair, the tennis court was abysmal, and none of the basketballs were round (still don't know how that happened). There was no signage as to where to check equipment out either. As always, we walk off the ship with our luggage, so no complaints on disembarkation. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
I finally went on a family cruise for a trip of a lifetime, and was told how wonderful NCL is and how that treat their guests. Needless to say, I was sadly disappointed in what we experienced. Guest services personnel were less than ... Read More
I finally went on a family cruise for a trip of a lifetime, and was told how wonderful NCL is and how that treat their guests. Needless to say, I was sadly disappointed in what we experienced. Guest services personnel were less than helpful and just short of rude at times. Restaurants were by far less than great, and I would say fair compared to the two cruises I had taken with Carnival. One night our wait staff forgot our grandchildren's orders (peanut butter and jelly sandwiches) and they came out much later that the main courses for the adults. Food in all locations tried were almost tasteless and small selections and portions. Our balcony cabin was wonderful and our attendant excellent. I personally was not expecting to have to pay the same daily gratuities for 2 children under the ages of 5 at the same rate as adults. Our time spent on land was great, and we enjoyed our shore excursions. Overall, the trip was not bad, but not good or great either. Would rate the overall experience as FAIR, and would recommend doing much more research before booking another NCL cruise. At this point, I would tell my family and friends to research other cruise lines before considering NCL. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We chose this particular cruise because it went Sydney to Sydney and as we live near Sydney it was very convenient. The itinerary was also very attractive with 9 ports to visit. Embarkation went smoothly, even for first timers on NCL. ... Read More
We chose this particular cruise because it went Sydney to Sydney and as we live near Sydney it was very convenient. The itinerary was also very attractive with 9 ports to visit. Embarkation went smoothly, even for first timers on NCL. We went on board and were told that the cabins were not quite ready, so went for lunch at O'Sheehan's Irish Pub and were pleasantly surprised. My husband had soup and a burger and I had the tuna sandwich. Rather pleasant I must say. Once the cabins were ready we found ours easily. Cabin 8050 with a decent oceanview (not quite 7unobstructed, but pretty happy). The beds were made up as a queen so as soon as we met our cabin steward (Mark) we asked him to split them up so there was a lot more room. Our luggage was delivered quickly and even though there wasn't a lot of cupboard space I managed to fit all our clothes in it. 6 Large drawers and some open shelves helped a lot too. Quite adequate surprisingly. There were quite a few clothes hangers, but I bring everything on hangers so we had more than enough. In general the cruise was good. There was plenty of entertainment on board, music everywhere. Could have done with some quieter areas for reading as the Spinnaker's Lounge and Fyzz Lounge were also used for general entertainment. We played scrabble in the card room and that was good. The only negative there that we encountered people bringing in their meals and drinks which should not be allowed. The main negative for us was the FOOD. We had breakfast in the Outdoor Café most days. Could not stomach the Garden Bufffet at all. It reminded us of a shopping mall's food court, HORRIBLE!!!!! For lunch I was usually O'Sheehand's and for dinner we went to both Azura and Tsar, both served the same food. Azura was a bit dark, whilst Tsar's was bright. We met some lovely people during our shared dinners nd that was a highlight, because the food was in general abominable. The plates looked like a dog's dinner and the quality was rather low. Extremely disappointing as cruisers generally really look forward to their dinners. Desserts very dismissable. Blueberry cheesecake? What was that? And pavlova in a meringue nest??? The best thing about the dinners was the bread and the ice water. We used Chin Chin which was not the best Asdian place we have ever been to. One day we booked La Cucina because my husband wanted Spaghetti Marinara only to find out that Marinara is just a sauce, NO seafood whatsoever. We walked out before ordering. Teppanyaki was very disappointing. I have never seen fake Japanese Teppnyaki chefs before and the one we had was particularly clumsy as he dropped his chopping knives several tims. He then proceeded t9o cook a whole bunch of garlic for the fried rice and added spoonfuls of garlic butter several times. The filet mignon was beautiful, or would have been if h had not drowned it in soy sauce. Unbelievably salty. It cost us a bomb and was on of the worst meals we had. The service though throughout the ship was impeccable. From our cabin steward Mark to to wait staff, everyone did their best. Happy with the crew. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
I chose this cruise due to the timing and destination. It needed to be in school holidays and New Zealand was a destination I wished to visit. The service from most staff was of a high standard. Staff greeted guests, were polite and ... Read More
I chose this cruise due to the timing and destination. It needed to be in school holidays and New Zealand was a destination I wished to visit. The service from most staff was of a high standard. Staff greeted guests, were polite and generally the service was good. The bar staff were often very busy and did an amazing job of keeping up with demand. The ship is constantly cleaned and staff can be seen in the corridors, on deck, in the dining room always keeping things tidy and clean. The ship is due for refurbishment but isn't worn out enough to make it unpleasant, just a little dated. Each cabin received a small laundry bag on day 4 or 5 with an offer to fill the bag and have that amount of laundry done for $20. Without that offer having laundry done was very expensive and there are no washing facilities for guests to do their own laundry. At a cost of $1 for a pair of socks and around $5 for a shirt it could add up fast. There are ample dining options ranging from specialty restaurants to the buffet option in the Garden Cafe. We found the food to be ordinary. Twice we couldn't eat the meal in one of the dining rooms due to the high salt content. The apple pie isn't what an Australian clientele expects, it has little apple content and is filled with a jelly substance with a strong cinnamon taste. Bacon is flat and super crunchy, but rather bland in the taste department. Norwegian is an American company and it does show in the food choices, it isn't yet catering to an Australian market. A high sugar content is also noticed. There are a lot of choices and you will be able to find something to suit you, the roasts are lovely, but there are limited choices for plain vegetable to match with it and some veges are heavily salted, soups are also very salty. Highlights include the crepes available at dinner, waffles, buffalo wings at O'Sheehans as well as the dips and the pork ribs are excellent! The BBQ on deck was generally nice as well, this features 3 or 4 times. Fellow passengers commented that the specialty restaurants were of a high standard. Entertainment was a highlight of the cruise. The nightly shows were of a high standard. Of 13 nights on board there were 4 shows I didn't love. Given the wide range of guests on board I think that is a wonderful achievement. There were several live music venues and choices, the most popular being a husband and wife due called 24 Karat. They were engaging and entertaining and anywhere they played was guaranteed to be busy. Other options included piano music, DJ, and The Love Brothers and Lira who had a Mexican sound. There was generally a range of music styles and Karaoke was included. The activities through the day were bland. Trivia of all sorts, a few lectures, art auctions. There were things to do if you wanted to join in or you could go to the card room or library. One thing I did wish they had on board was those large chairs with the top for shade. The on deck lounges are comfy enough and there are enough that you can always find one somewhere on deck, often the highest sundeck had a lot of room. Spas were popular as always. My teenager went to Entourage, the teenage area. Friendships were formed and the kids are able to go and leave as they please as long as parents give permission for them to do so. This freedom was wonderful for the kids who were seen around the ship having a meal or snack together or just sitting chatting. Younger children were also catered to and happy laughter could be heard coming from their area. I don't have younger children but observed that there were lots of happy kids coming out and that parents were at times in there enjoying an activity along with the kids. There were shore excursions available on board. We booked independently before we left Australia and had no trouble finding our tour operators, each was at the dock waiting. There were busses to take you into town when necessary and this service was only charged for at one port at a cost of $15 each way. Many tour operators pick you up at the dock so you avoid that cost. If you do book independently make sure you know where you need to meet you guide for the day and have their phone number handy, just in case. They can't wait too long and you can be left behind. It's also worth double checking the time you need to be back at port with them as the ship won't wait for you after the all aboard time they give you, this was most often 30 minutes before the sailing time. Disembarking didn't take too long at any of the ports. I allowed 2 hours after docking time before the tour times but on several occasions we were off the boat quickly and we found the tour operator to discover everyone there and ready to go. A one hour window would have been plenty. For those unfamiliar with the routine you need photo id and your room tag to get back on the boat, customs officers will check your id before you are allowed on the dock. If you should find yourself without your id for any reason just explain yourself, you'll be escorted to the ship for identification before being allowed back on board (yes, that was me!). Tenders are used at the Bay of Islands so if you have a tour organised be up early to get your tender ticket to ensure you are there on time. The Ports were all beautiful with something to do at each of them. Picton the smallest and quietest, could be worth hiring a car and doing a short drive to see some of the Bays in the area. We were back on board the ship with hours and hours to spare. Napier was a favourite with many fellow travellers, we did a tour which was good, but I would honestly have been happy to just walk around Napier for the day soaking up the atmosphere. This cruise went to some stunning ports and allows you to see a range of what New Zealand has to offer. The food and daytime activities were less than i had been looking forward to, but overall the cruise was very enjoyable. The final highlight is seeing Sydney Harbour come into view and watch the sun's early rays hit the Opera House and Bridge. The ship seems to coast so gently toward Circular Quay it's a peaceful time and sure to make you feel glad to be home! If you're not an Australian it's still beautiful. Recommended? The ports and experiences on shore make it worthwhile. The issues of food and daytime activities aren't poor enough to make the trip unpleasant. I am glad I took the cruise and loved the variety of places we visited. The cruise was relaxed, one dining room does require collared shirts for men, including children, so make sure you pack at least one. The weather was lovely, but going through the Sounds was very windy and quite cool. Pack some long pants, jumper and rain coat. We had sunshine but it is often raining through the sounds. Overall a worthwhile trip which has left us with a lot of happy memories. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
I chose this cruise to take my Grand Children on our yearly Grand Children vacation during the Labor Day week. We have done this cruise before with other Grand Children ages 6 - 12. The only real positive thing I can say is the ... Read More
I chose this cruise to take my Grand Children on our yearly Grand Children vacation during the Labor Day week. We have done this cruise before with other Grand Children ages 6 - 12. The only real positive thing I can say is the "Splash Academy" is still top of the line. The Grand Children want to attend and request to return when we pick them up. Other than that, the cruise was disappointing on many levels. 1) The entertainment did not meet the audience expectations. The cruise director was not in tune with the overall audience. He had Mo Town entertainment for an audience of people who like to dance 1950, 60 etc. They even were playing Caribbean music as we pulled into Victoria. They even hip hopped "Unchained Melody. As we passed the music venues it was apparent the cruise director was out of tune, low to no audience. On a positive note there was a Trio of musicians that we were able to dance to the music, we had to dance in front of the Concierge desk or in the walkway. 2) The port stays were reduced from earlier cruises. We were limited in time to do 2 things. Such as Juneau, we just finished the Glacier and had to rush back to the ship, no time for sight seeing, shopping and souvenirs. The Norwegian Pearl was moving in as we were pulling out. NCL may have saved money on port charges, but cruisers were not really happy. 3) Food at the complimentary restaurants was mediocre at best, servers looked they were in training. Did their best but nothing to write home about. 4) The specialty restaurants were great, for the extra money you get the service you expect from all restaurants. Specialty Restaurant servers entertained the Grand Children and made their experience memorable. 5) I walked into bingo looking for my spouse and the Bingo caller said I was confusing everyone by standing. Oh well I just left. I did hear her ask what numbers people needed, found that interesting. 6) The room stewards were efficient and nice. The Cigar lounge was nice, and attendance were efficient. Front desk and Restaurant reservations were efficient. For these reasons I have a problem of paying a mandatory Service Fee for eachpassenger, When the service and entertainment is not up to par for NCL. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
Food - Many many options in Garden Café, including vegetarian choices. However, had to call 24 hr in advance to go to any of the other complimentary dining restaurants to ensure there were vegetarian choices. That deterred us from going ... Read More
Food - Many many options in Garden Café, including vegetarian choices. However, had to call 24 hr in advance to go to any of the other complimentary dining restaurants to ensure there were vegetarian choices. That deterred us from going to the sit down dinners and we only stuck to Garden Café. Entertainment - Good shows every evening. Ports - Juneau, Ketchikan, Skagway, Victoria all are very beautiful. We lucked out with the weather - clear skies and low 70s. Kids activities - Our 4 year old and 5 year old loved the Splash Academy and the pool Stateroom - Mid-ship mini-suite was good; however we had to call guest services 4 times on 4 different days as the toilet flush was not working. The issue was resolved in 1-2 hrs. We enjoyed spending time in the balcony and it was the money when we were crusing Endicott arm to see the Dawes Glacier. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
We booked this cruise as a family cruise with my daughter, husband and grand children. My main complaint is that this company nickel and dimes you on everything. For example, we had to pay $26+ every night for the pleasure of having ... Read More
We booked this cruise as a family cruise with my daughter, husband and grand children. My main complaint is that this company nickel and dimes you on everything. For example, we had to pay $26+ every night for the pleasure of having someone make our bed and $50 for someone to move our bags! We were pleased that our grandchildren enjoyed the kids club but there wasn't anything suitable for us as older cruisers. There were some alternate restaurants that you had to pay for and they were were expensive. On the whole the food was plentiful but we don't want to eat burgers, hotdogs and the like. There were some Asian alternative on the buffet counters and we enjoyed them. On most of the shore stops we found our own transportation as the ones offered on the ship were about twice as expensive. The one we booked was a train journey at Skagway and I don't recommend it. It took 3 hours and other than lots of trees and a few waterfalls there wasn't much to see. We had a cabin with a balcony. The room itself was clean but the bathroom smelled badly and we had to request two times before someone cleaned it with disinfectant. The deck was dirty and didn't look as it if had been cleaned for a long time. The embarkation and departure both went smoothly and they have a good system for doing both. If we do another cruise, we will probably look for another cruiseline. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
We booked our cruise through Costco.com and booked this particular because the dates worked well for everyone in our party (13 of us total) and it went round-trip out of Seattle. Embarkation and disembarkation went more smoothly than any ... Read More
We booked our cruise through Costco.com and booked this particular because the dates worked well for everyone in our party (13 of us total) and it went round-trip out of Seattle. Embarkation and disembarkation went more smoothly than any cruise any of us had been on before. Our stateroom was mostly good, however when we got there the first day we noticed there was a sizing sticker from a new piece of clothing stuck to a mirror. Also, one of the drawers didn't shut all the way. Upon inspection, we found someone else's undershirt had fallen behind the drawers. Kinda wish that had been found before we got there, but otherwise our stateroom worked well for us. Entertainment was great, but activities were a little lacking. There always seemed to be things going on, but nothing super interesting to us. We did participate in some activities and did have some fun with those. However, it wasn't until the last full day on the ship that we found out about activity cards that we could have had signed by the staff/crew who led them which we could have received some sort of prize for participation in a certain number of events. The last day of the cruise is really not the time to be hearing about such things... Our biggest complaint would have to be the fitness facilities - mostly the misrepresentation of the jogging "track." In pictures it looks like your run-of-the-mill track, but it is just the deck plating painted brown. It is slippery when wet - it rained a little on the trip and it also appeared to have been hosed down at some point. The water should have been pushed away for the safety of those who would like to use it. All that aside, most of the track was closed for the entirety of our trip. Even during trip, crew members would talk about the track as if it was open. It was super frustrating since the fitness center had a limited number of treadmills/elliptical machines that always seemed to be in use. The food was great and plentiful and the dining staff in Tsar's were amazing! My wife is gluten intolerant and they were very accommodating with that, as well! Other staff and crew that we passed by always said hello and were overall very friendly. Overall, we had a lot of fun, we saw amazing glaciers, and had an overall smooth sail. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
This was my first cruise, and I went in with very few expectations. I was traveling in a group of 25, for my grandparents anniversary. We were a good mix of ages, with some kids around 10, a handful in their 20s, the parents in their ... Read More
This was my first cruise, and I went in with very few expectations. I was traveling in a group of 25, for my grandparents anniversary. We were a good mix of ages, with some kids around 10, a handful in their 20s, the parents in their 40s/50s, and then the grandparents and a couple of their own friends. It was because we had such a large group that this cruise was fun, someone was always willing to do something with you. Embarkation was a breeze, we showed up at 12pm at the dock in Seattle and were on board within 30 minutes. As we expected the buffet was a zoo, and we found a cozy spot in the additional seating area in La Cucina that ended up being our main go-to place to sit when we went to the buffet. I highly recommend hitting the pool on the first day, its pretty much the only day we were able to comfortably be in the water. The whole family was on the deck drinking and dancing, it was great. At least two people in every cabin had the unlimited beverage package, and the servers in general were happy to give up to two, sometimes more drinks per card, so everyone was able to drink for free during the course of the trip. The only hiccup we had here was in the Brazilian Steakhouse where they only let us charge drinks to the person who had the card. Some staff at OSheans were a bit testy about this as well, but I think it only happened twice. Food on the cruise overall was average at best. The buffet is probably the safest way to go because you can always find something you like. At the sit-down places like Tsars and Azura, plates are very hit or miss. My medium rate strip steak was a disaster. No flavor, no seasoning. It must rank among some of the worst beef I have ever eaten. I have better tasting beef in economy class international flights. Several times some of our group members went to the buffet *after* the sit down place to fill up. In buffet the Indian food was always quite good, sweet potato burrito was memorable, as was the turkey sandwich with ricotta. Crepe station was really tasty, getting the chocolate fondue mixed w sour cherry compote was a highlight. The appetizers at the paid Brazilian Steakhouse were amazing, the meat was meh. Probably not worth the cover charge. OSheans was a great spot, all of their food was quite good, we usually ended up grabbing snacks and beers there every day, and especially hit it up after late night dancing/entertainment at Spinnaker. Pound cake was excellent. The ship itself is old and somewhat outdated, which didn't bother me much, but its without many public places to relax and spend time at. Mostly bars, which didn't bother me much! The children's activities seemed way too cheesy for our kids, so they just stayed with us the whole time, which ended up being fine. Library and game room fill up super quickly. The library literally has only 4 tables to work at, so I ended up doing my work in restaurants with my laptop. Gym fills up early in the morning, but thin out pretty quickly. Its a nice gym, if a bit musty. It was always a little confusing for me to find a public bathroom or a trashbin. While dated decor-wise, the ship was clean and well maintained. Towards the end of the trip, deck 9 aft smelled like sewerage in the hallway. The staff regularly came and "refreshed" the hallway with airfreshener, doing the best they could. I appreciated the effort. Entertainment was good. We enjoyed JP the comedian/magician and Rob Long the comedian. They were sharp and funny. Fire and Ice musical impersonations, especially Michael Jackson were a highlight. We really didn't take advantage of entertainment/activities until the night time; I didn't appreciate the Ciruqe-esque shows nor the acrobatics, but thats just me, most of the family liked them. If you're a night owl, Spinnaker lounge is really fun to listen to music, grab drinks, and dance the night away. The best views of the icebergs and sunset are seen here too. Service was average. I had the impression that cruise ship staff go above and beyond the call of duty and can be almost saccharine in their demeanor, but I didn't find this to be the case at all. Everyone was courteous , but nothing out of the ordinary. Our room was always made up very quickly, which I deeply appreciated. The Ports were quite fun. In Ketchikan, we were lazy and just walked around the town and got some local food. The self guided walking tour is really good and there are several museums you can check out. As soon as you get off the boat just go to the visitors center and get a map from the helpful staff there. Interesting history of prostitution and frontier life in this town. In Juneau, we saw the Mendelhall glacier, for a 30$ round trip shuttle, I bargained down from 35$ since we had a large group. I recommend this excursion, and that you take the trail to the falls. It takes about 1.5 hours total from leaving Juneau to getting back to the shuttle station, we were a bit rushed and didnt get the time to check out the visitors center as long as I like because we were running out of time to get on the boat. Good food in Juneau, get the crab bisque from the main crab shack. Avoid the Red Dog Saloon, I found the staff to be abrasive and rude not to just our party, but to many others that were on our cruise. In Skagway, half of us walked the town and the other half did a bus tour that mirrored the train. Bus folks loved their tour, we loved walking the town. Library has a good museum with really wonderful artifacts. Check out the Skagway Fish Company for lunch. It is expensive, but well well worth it. The mussels and crab were the best I have had in my life. Spicy, but worth the burn! We got to the boat 1 minute before our call time, and were really ashamed to be so late. The fun part however was watching other people from our balcony come on to the boat later than us. It felt like half of our side of the boat was on their balconies "cheering on" the latecomers. I stayed on the boat in Victoria with a few others. Family went to Buchart gardens and liked it. For this port, you arrive at around 3pm (rather than early morning) so everyone is trying to get off the boat at the same time. Don't wait in line. Head up to OSheans and relax and wait for the line to die down around 4, and walk right off the ship. We bought the unlimited internet package and were happy that we did. The speed was more than satisfactory and while I am not sure I can say it was "worth" the money, I'm very happy we had connection. We got our bill every other day and were not hit with any "surprise" charges during the course of the trip that we need to later rectify. Getting off the cruise was pretty simple, we chose to carry our bags and walk off. Took an uber to the airport and that was that. Random tips: -do your duty free shopping early, we didn't realize that it would be open only for an hour on the last day -you get charged tax for your beverages as you leave Seattle and are in American waters. Its not much, (maybe 80 cents to a dollar a drink) but some people were not happy to see that charge -bring dramamine. we had one night where very few people got a full nights sleep because the boat was rocking so hard. I suppose this is something to note, the boat *does* sway a bit during the day and at night it is certainly noticeable as you're trying to doze off. -Buy super strong magnets from Amazon. The walls are magnetic and its really handy to have extra hooks (thanks cruisetips tv!) Overall I'm glad we took this trip, but given how expensive it was and considering value for money, I don't think I would do this cruise itinerary again, and certainly wouldn't go on this ship. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
This was my first cruise. My sister chose the cruise because she gets seriously discounted cruises with Norwegian. As a result, I didn't have much say in the cruise line. We upgraded to a balcony cabin through a "bid" ... Read More
This was my first cruise. My sister chose the cruise because she gets seriously discounted cruises with Norwegian. As a result, I didn't have much say in the cruise line. We upgraded to a balcony cabin through a "bid" process. The stateroom was nice - a balcony room is a must, especially on an Alaska cruise. I enjoyed most aspects of the cruise but a couple of factors seriously reduced my enjoyment. 1) The food - there are a few restaurants that you can eat at with no extra charge plus a cafeteria. This food is, almost without exception, mediocre. Except for the cafeteria, the service is very slow. But they do have several restaurants that have an "upcharge" that serve very good food at expensive prices. So if you think your cruise will include all of your dining costs, that's only true if you don't care much about having tasty food. 2) There was a lot of "hard sell" on photos, gambling, you name it. I got an expensive massage and after was pushed to buy $400 worth of skin care products and hundreds more on orthotics. It was obnoxious. The beauty of Alaska was stunning, so the destination was not the problem. We arranged our shore excursion separate from the cruise to save money and were very satisfied with their value. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
We chose Norwegian for its flexible dining and casual attire. We specifically chose the Jewel for the itinerary which included Tracy Arm Fjord. The cruise staff was wonderful. Service was superb. The stateroom was comfortable, ... Read More
We chose Norwegian for its flexible dining and casual attire. We specifically chose the Jewel for the itinerary which included Tracy Arm Fjord. The cruise staff was wonderful. Service was superb. The stateroom was comfortable, functional and clean. Despite its small size it was more comfortable than a motel room. The food was wonderful. We loved the choice of food options and being able to eat when we liked and to choose from 5 restaurants of where to eat. We are very disappointed for a number of reasons. First, the ship did not cruise the advertised itinerary. This was a once in a lifetime trip for us and required a large portion of our savings. The ship did not sail on the inside of Vancouver Island as advertised and it did not cruise Tracy Arm Fjord as advertised. We were very disappointed that we missed what we spent lots of money to see. Second, the cruise was not all inclusive and we felt nickel and dimed at every turn. First, is the drink package. We found out after booking and paying in full for the cruise that only water, tea and coffee are included. If you want juice or soda it is extra $62/person extra. Also, the entertainment was not all inclusive either. Bingo was $40 a card, Let's Make a Deal also cost additional funds. On day 5 of the 7 day cruise they informed us that a new service fee had been implemented April 1, 2017 (our payment deadline was March 12, 2017) to the tune of $16.99 per person per day. I don't even think it is legal to add a fee like that after the cruise was paid in full. Classes in the fitness center were also extra and after paying for a package of 3 spin classes they only held 2 classes. These things greatly increased the cost of the trip beyond making Norwegian less affordable than we had originally thought. Third, the entertainment was average. We primarily went to see the scenery yet after the first day they tied up all the deck chairs and they were not available the rest of the cruise. The return trip was so far from shore that we couldn't see land at all and it was very rough waters making for a 24 hours of rocking which was miserable. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
This was our second cruise to Alaska, but our first cruise with Norwegian. Our first cruise was with Oceania and we really enjoyed it. Since Oceania and Norwegian are owned by the same company we set our expectations high based upon our ... Read More
This was our second cruise to Alaska, but our first cruise with Norwegian. Our first cruise was with Oceania and we really enjoyed it. Since Oceania and Norwegian are owned by the same company we set our expectations high based upon our experience on Oceania. Wanting the best the Norwegian Jewel had to offer we booked the Haven two bedroom stateroom. The Haven provides a personalized experience since access is restricted to only Haven guests. We had our own pool, hot tub, steam room, and exercise equipment, along with a secured portion of the top deck. Haven guests also receive priority embarkation and debarkation. Our stateroom stewardess and our butler were fantastic, however, our concierge was an over-actor that made anything (including dinner reservations) seem like it was a monumental task. He also had a condescending attitude. The rest of the staff was professional and friendly. The food at all the main venues was only fair tasting and we had to send several steaks back for being severely over-cooked. The specialty restaurants, which cost extra, had better food, but they still didn't compare to Oceania. Norwegian travel reps and customer service really push bottled water ($48 for a 24 pack of 1 liter bottles) but you don't need it. Water and tea is always available in the buffet area. Although the Jewel was refurbished in 2014, it desperately needs another one. Many of the furnishings look worn and dated (1970 ish). The plastic palm trees at the pool made me think I was at a cheap discount store. The entertainment was very good, but they either had a blown speaker or the volume was too loud as most of the singing sounded distorted. Our 7 day cruise from Seattle to Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, Victoria, BC, and back to Seattle cost $11,809.68 USD for a family of 4. Overall, the cruise was disappointing and we won't be sailing with Norwegian again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
We chose this cruise line because it left from our local cruise port in San Pedro Ca. Very few cruise lines now leave from California in the Los Angeles area. The itinerary is one we have done before. It is nice but not exciting. Of the ... Read More
We chose this cruise line because it left from our local cruise port in San Pedro Ca. Very few cruise lines now leave from California in the Los Angeles area. The itinerary is one we have done before. It is nice but not exciting. Of the three ports visited Cabo San Lucas is the nicest, followed by Puerto Vallarta the Mazatlan. Mazatlan has the problem of having almost all things to see or shop at far from the port. The Ship is nice, but the Haven area is not equipped with its own restaurant or lounge with its on bar. Despite this the restaurants on board are good and the service is usually quite pleasant. The only difficulty came with the internet credit not being credited to my account. This was corrected but not without time and effort on my part and with being mislead by guest relations.The moral of the story is always check your itemized statement carefully. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
This is my 3rd cruise on Norwegian, twice on the Jewel and once on the Escape. My previous cruise on the Jewel in 2015 (Alaska) was overall a far better experience. My 2016 cruise on the Escape (Caribbean) was amazing. To be fair my ... Read More
This is my 3rd cruise on Norwegian, twice on the Jewel and once on the Escape. My previous cruise on the Jewel in 2015 (Alaska) was overall a far better experience. My 2016 cruise on the Escape (Caribbean) was amazing. To be fair my experience on this 2017 cruise on the Jewel (Mexican Riviera) was amazing when compared to say any cruise offered by a line like Carnival, but when compared to past cruises with Norwegian it was below average. DINING Dining in the main rooms was great, always plenty of seating, quality service, and hot good tasting food. Specialty restaurants - Moderno - Service was fantastic, the quality of the meats was off slightly. Still highly recommend this specialty restaurant on the Jewel. Teppanyaki - Service and food was good, our chef did not do some of the fun tricks that you expect during this kind of meal but was still good. Cagneys - Oh boy, the chef in this restaurant (March 2017) needs to be replaced. Sent my tomahawk rib eye back twice, and actually had an argument with the chef over how to cook it. They committed the biggest mistake one can make in a steakhouse, they tried to continue cooking a steak I had cut into. Everyone was rude in that restaurant, tried to make it better by giving me a free drink but still charged us for the meal. It was a customer service disaster in every way. Until they get a new, properly trained chef avoid this place and just go to Moderno. At Moderno they will cook the meat to order (if requested) and it is unlimited. Food comes from the same kitchen but they have different chefs. SERVICE: Part of me felt like this cruise had a lot of new employees who were not trained properly. Bad customer service at the main CS desk, rude people at the restaurant reservation desk, literally everyone in the photo gallery had no idea what was going on expect the manager (a nice South African guy) and housekeeping was horrible. There was soap in my coffee maker and instead of just fixing it the room stewardess (Marggie) tried to blame the previous guest. It didn't really matter to me how it happened, it just needed to be fixed but she felt compelled to take the time to blame someone else which immediately told me that it was her fault. Had to fight to get an extra bath towel, she consistently missed cleaning / replacing one to two things every time she cleaned the room. Like everyday for 7 days, one or two times I would understand but this was every day. It was exhausting dealing with her. PORTS / SHORE EXCURSIONS The one thing I really love about the Mexican Rivera cruises is the whale watching in Cabo this time of the year (Jan, Feb, Mar). The 2 hour whale watching excursion in Cabo (on a catamaran) was great! The boat was clean and comfortable, they had free drinks and snacks, and the guide was knowledgeable. Went out of their way to make sure you saw whales while still being respectful of the whales (didn't get too close, and shut the motor down). CASINO This casino needs a manager who has been to Las Vegas and understands that casinos are suppose to be fun. They need more Wheel of Fortune machines (only had 2), more poker tables, and better trained staff. My boyfriend was literally teaching them how craps works... it was shocking, they didn't understand all of the bets and had no idea how to pay on all bets. A lot of customers who not extremely familiar with the game were getting shorted, big time. Play at your own risk. WIFI Norwegian has upgraded their WiFi and it is worth paying for now! I was able to download an episode of the Walking Dead on my iPad overnight and watch it the next day. It so much faster than before, it is literally the only improvement I noticed on this cruise. PORT OF LOS ANGELES This cruise I just took on the Jewel left out of San Pedro, and that place is just a dump. That is not NCL's fault, but if you have never been there just know its a dump. Parking is $18 per day, and your car is out in the open. It will get insanely dirty. The cruise terminal has no A/C and seems to have been built during like WWII and has never been updated. There are escalators and and elevator, but over it is old and dingy. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
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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