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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
We chose this cruise for the interesting ports and had a terrific time. The newly refurbished Jewel is beautiful and we much prefer the smaller ships. We had quite a few Sea days and Ncl had many activities scheduled. Trivia multiple ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the interesting ports and had a terrific time. The newly refurbished Jewel is beautiful and we much prefer the smaller ships. We had quite a few Sea days and Ncl had many activities scheduled. Trivia multiple times a day, dance classes, cake and cooking demonstrations, etc. One thing I found difficult to get information on before the cruise was how Ncl would handle crossing the international dateline. Basically, most nights we moved our clocks forward one hour to catch up with the current time for the port stops. Then, the night that we moved across the international dateline instead of moving forward we moved it 23 hours backwards. This gained us one extra day. It happens to be Mother’s Day, May 12, so we all celebrated twice. I also want to comment on our stop in Petropavlovsk Russia. Although technically no visa is needed to get a shower, and prior Crucis people have just been able to walk off the ship with no excursions scheduled. We had an independent excursion that we booked ourselves. Two days before we arrived in Russia, Ncl advised everyone that you had to have an excursion, either with Ncl or independent, to leave the ship. Fortunately we have paperwork from our tour guide and were able to provide them with that. As a last minute solutions, Ncl arranged for an eight dollar round-trip shuttle although technically no visa is needed to get a sure, and prior cruises people have just been able to walk off the ship with no excursions scheduled. We had an independent excursion that we booked ourselves. Two days before we arrived in Russia, Ncl advised everyone that you had to have an excursion, either with Ncl or independent, to leave the ship. Fortunately we have paperwork from our tour guide and were able to provide them with that. As a last minute solutions, Ncl arranged for an eight dollar round-trip shuttle to The small downtown area that would suffice and satisfy the Russian authorities. This had nothing to do with Ncl, it was merely a change from Russia. Another comment, small downtown that would suffice and satisfy the Russian authorities. This had nothing to do with NCL, it was merely a change from Russia. Another comment, they have now built a cruise port there and we did not tender ashore. It did take a long time to get our passports back and get a sure, we landed at 5 AM in the Russian immigration came right on and started checking everyone’s passports but the last ones were not cleared until 10:45 AM. You were able to get off in groups based on your passport being ready, excursions first, followed by Haven, then called by floor. Service at all the bars and restaurants was top-notch. Never a wait for anything, it was a very quiet, older and civilized crowd. Not sure what the average age was but since it was and I’m gonna cruise in the weather was chilly there wasn’t too much in the way of loud partying, but still plenty of fun to go around. One of the most fun afternoon so we had was on a cruise critic pub crawl. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
Great ship and great weather were the highlights, but too many boring sea days. It could have been much better with some more speakers and better entertainment on those long sea days. The best part of sea days was a geology professor ... Read More
Great ship and great weather were the highlights, but too many boring sea days. It could have been much better with some more speakers and better entertainment on those long sea days. The best part of sea days was a geology professor guest lecture. Embarkation was much slower than disembarkation. Nice cabin with reasonable bathroom. Too cool for pool and sunbathing on this route. Port in Japan and Russia were small, but interesting. Alaska ports were fine, but Icy Point Straight was a NCL-contrived port with little to see. Activities at sea included art auctions, specialty restaurants, expensive slow internet etc. that all seemed to create additional profit centers for the cruise line with a captive audience. Food was on par with Carnival and Royal Caribbean, but not necessarily themed for the ports visited. Service was on par. Hot chocolate served outside on a few cold port or glacier viewing days was a nice touch. Both food and service were better in the specialty restaurants, but then you pay for a meal that you have already included anyway with the cruise, so I count those as a port meal. Entertainment was sub-par, with the exception of one acrobatics show. Mostly Philippine bands doing their best with a wide range of western standards. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
Loved the idea of a repositioning cruise and that part was great. Could sail forever. However, the service on board was indifferent, to say the least. The people who ran the "kid's club" were fabulous and my grandchildren ... Read More
Loved the idea of a repositioning cruise and that part was great. Could sail forever. However, the service on board was indifferent, to say the least. The people who ran the "kid's club" were fabulous and my grandchildren had a great time. This was the best part. Ebarkation and disembarkation were flawless. Food was another matter. It was, to say the least, somewhat strange. Clearly it was mostly frozen and then reheated and the descriptions didn't really match what was served. The only really good meal was in Teppanyaki. The rest of the food was indifferent--it would work if you were hungry but it wasn't a good experience. The Enrichment speaker was wonderful and very enlightening. Felt as if we were being "nickled and dimed" for everything. For example, after having bought the soda package, we were often told in restaurants that no diet pepsi was available (that there was no more on the ship) only to be able to get it later at a bar. This happened more than once. Would I sail on this ship again? Not really if I had another choice. We went on this ship because of the large stateroom (with a separate bedroom) that was available for my daughter's family. That is the only reason we would go again on this ship. I've sailed on Oceania, Windstar, Celebrity, Princess, and now Norwegian. Norwegian was, for me, my least favourite. On the other hand, it had a repositioning cruise, which is my favourite. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
The Jewel has been refurbished but not to the extent that it needed. I have never seen a harder working general manager (still hotel director to me) than Stephen. His problem is he can only deal with the staff he has been given. I ... Read More
The Jewel has been refurbished but not to the extent that it needed. I have never seen a harder working general manager (still hotel director to me) than Stephen. His problem is he can only deal with the staff he has been given. I certainly understand that all the employees from the Joy needed to be dispersed throughout the company but the lack of a clear understanding of English is a problem. The ship layout is difficult for someone used to the new Breakaway class. My last review of the Bliss was that it was "bliss". This was a long cruise and there were many sea days. It is hard to come up with enrichment activities that suit all. The lectures were wonderful. There was so much "trivia" that I had to retreat to my cabin to keep myself from going mad. The spa is certainly not up to par with the newer ships. It did not have a glass door so the door was kept open in order to help people find it. In keeping it open all the heat escaped. Even on a heated bed one needed a robe and towel covering to keep from being cold. The hot tub in the ladies only locker room had resting chairs by it. Those chairs had real fabric upholstery. Some regular deck chairs would make much more sense. I never felt that I could sit/lay on one of those chairs in a wet bathing suit. So many little things that one does not find lacking on a new ship. Too many to mention. I do still fully support NCL and intend to travel only on NCL. I write this review only as I feel it is necessary that all know the difference in the various ships. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
I have always wanted to go to Alaska and my husband wanted to go to Japan, so on this cruise we got to do a bit of both! Boarded in Yokohama Japan. We stayed at Sotetsu Fresca Inn Sakuragi-cho in Yokohama. This was fine and we were able ... Read More
I have always wanted to go to Alaska and my husband wanted to go to Japan, so on this cruise we got to do a bit of both! Boarded in Yokohama Japan. We stayed at Sotetsu Fresca Inn Sakuragi-cho in Yokohama. This was fine and we were able to walk to the port from here - although was a good 25 minute walk. Embarkation was a little unorganised and long, but we were also quite early! Once on board, everything was easy. We mainly ate breakfast in buffet, and this was good. Sometimes had to walk around a bit to find a seat, but no major trouble. Plenty of selection and options, although it is amazing how after two weeks you still get a little bored with whats on offer! My bad! For lunch we ate in various restaurants, we gave all the complimentary ones a go! Menu didn't change much for lunch tho. Really enjoyed O'Sheehans for lunch - their fajitas and burgers were great, better than the ones at Tsars! Massive selection at buffet for lunch and options changed daily. Nice steaks out by the pool at Topsiders Grill - although this area was closed on cold wet days. For dinner we always went to either Tsars or Azura. Same menu in both, but just different atmosphere and decor. The waiters were amazing in these restaurants. Also loved Alvin who did the table allocation at Tsars, he was great with names and very welcoming. The food was very very good. Not amazing, but very very good considering the volume they are producing for. The ship production crew shows were amazing, especially the cirque inspired one!! Other shows were entertaining, some better than others. The nice guy giving the lectures each day was very good, but a little too indepth on certain things for me! We enjoyed all our cruise port stops. Alaska was amazing!! One bit of advice for cruises that go to Petropavlovsk in Russia. Although the ship berthed at 5am and some 30-40 russian immigration guys were expected to arrive soon after to do immigration checks for all passengers. It was 11.30 before our deck 5 was able to disembark. This meant that we missed our privately organised and prepaid tour. The various decks were allowed to retrieve their passports and depart according to deck, commencing from ship excursion passengers, haven passengers, deck 11, deck 10, deck 9 etc. down to deck 4, all with allocation times approx 30 mins apart. If we had been on deck 11 we would probably have got off about 9.30, but deck 5 was second last. If visiting this port would be better to do a ship excursion (something I rarely do!) or select a cabin on a high deck! Although we missed our excursion (the tour company did wait over an hour for us, but then had to go as had others with them), we were able to walk off the ship and into town ourselves for a look around. Was about a 10 minute walk. The ship had said that we would require to buy an $8 shuttle ticket, but this was not necessary. No one even checked us to see if we had a rebooked excursion or shuttle ticket. Spas were lovely and hot and the pools were heated too. We loved spending time upstairs in the Spinnaker Lounge. This was a lovely quiet spot with comfy lounges and great views!! There are also some little computer screens at front of some bars/restaurants that you can take a selfie photo of yourself and send a brief message via email back home - handy to let loved ones know how you are going! We had the free internet package and our 250 hours were rationed amongst the sea days and worked fine. We never did work out how to do the phone package to call our kids on their mobiles tho! Drinks package was great, it was included which was good, because we probably only drank 2 or 3 drinks a day which was more than normal!, but not enough to justify buying a package! Loved the manager, think his name was Steven Jacobson, very friendly and helpful. Also loved the cruise director Dan. There was enough entertainment around the ships, although there were still times where we didn't know what to do, but thats the time to grab a good book! Easy disembark, just did it ourselves and walked straight off! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
This was the first time on Norwegian Cruise line and was very impressed with the service, food and the entertainment. There was never any waiting for a table in any dining rooms, the staff were very attentive. I have cruised with a ... Read More
This was the first time on Norwegian Cruise line and was very impressed with the service, food and the entertainment. There was never any waiting for a table in any dining rooms, the staff were very attentive. I have cruised with a lot of other cruise lines and you always feel you are being push into a paying speciality restaurant in some form or another like serving crap food in main dining room to encourage you to go to the speciality restaurant and pay but not with Norwegian Cruise line on the Jewel the food was excellent no matter where you ate and to eat when you like and where you like was great even had breakfast till midday, now try that on any other line and you miss out on breakfast. The ship was full but there was no problems getting a seat anywhere on the ship for all meals. You can even eat at 2am in the morning which I did a couple of times as I felt a bit peckish after dancing to the brilliant music and then finishing at the casino I would go and have some fish and chips in O'sheehan's which is open 24hr now try and get that on any other cruise line. Other cruise lines once 9pm hits there is nothing other than room service which you have to pay for but on Norwegian cruise line there is no reason to use room service. There was even two soft serve ice cream machines open from lunch until late. The staff are amazing and were very attentive to your needs and very friendly and happy. I have noticed some ships are given 6 stars and I give Norwegian Cruise line 6 Stars and can justify my reasons. 1) Restaurants no waiting for a table at any restaurants Eat where you want and when you want and with who you want, unlike other ships where you are pushed onto large table groups. The Jewel you were give a table for two every time unless you requested a large table. Waiters very helpful and friendly and happy and a ratio of 1 crew to 2 passengers. Food available 24 hrs a day and this was not room service either. Breakfast was available till 12 noon, no other ship does that. Seating in lounge and theatre Seating in lounge areas were plenty and theatre there was always plenty of room. 2) Service I didn't need to get waiters attention as they would always be near your table and if you looked up as if you were about to ask for help they would be there and even when i dropped my napkin on the floor and before i could bend down to pick it up a waiter would already be picking it up and telling me he would get me a clean one. even in one of the other small main dining rooms we had a personal waiter who attended to what ever we needed. very impressed. 3)The Alcohol was included at all bars and restaurants and no limit. The only thing we didn't have was a butler but who needs one just to unpack. Would I go on this line again the answer is yes and I think now this line would be the only line for me. Would I recommend it to others and the answer is yes, go try it for yourself. Keep up the good work Norwegian Cruise Line. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
Well, here we are back on the Jewel (sailed Sydney - Singapore in February), but this time in the Haven. Why? We wanted to see Japan and we wanted to do Alaska and ‘transpacific’ helped complete our journey around the planet (although, ... Read More
Well, here we are back on the Jewel (sailed Sydney - Singapore in February), but this time in the Haven. Why? We wanted to see Japan and we wanted to do Alaska and ‘transpacific’ helped complete our journey around the planet (although, technically, the Bering Sea may not actually be the Pacific). Anyhow, this was a repositioning cruise and we decided to take advantage. Unlike our last cruise where we just showed up in Sydney, this time we came to Tokyo five days before the cruise to enjoy the city sights. Tokyo did not disappoint. It was very clear, fairly easy to navigate, many opportunities for dining... we stayed at the Keio Plaza Hotel in Shinjuku-Ku and I would highly recommend it. The only downside was that it was Golden Week and there were more crowds than usual. We were unable to visit Mt Fuji due to crowds as well. I would definitely go back to Japan. There were an awful lot of people at that pier in Yokohama, but because we were in the Haven, we were among the first to be checked in and whisked aboard the ship. I cannot say how embarkation was for anyone else, but it did look like a very large crowd. Once aboard, we met some of the staff in the Haven. A truly great group of dedicated professionals who did not disappoint. They were great for the entire cruise. Our room guy was Giri and we were very fortunate to have him. One thing that surprised me, though, is that this ship has no dedicated Haven restaurant. Breakfast, though, was served in the Moderno restaurant and we were there each morning. Michelle was our server of choice and she was another example of the wonderful staff. Lunch was also served in Moderno for Havenites, but we ate there only once or twice. Unlike other ship, though, for dinner you’re on your own. Luckily, we had seven meals coming to us (5 were Free at Sea and 2 because of our Platinum status). On the other seven or eight nights, we split it up with either the Tsars Palace or Azura and, if we didn’t care for the menu on a particular night, we went to Chin Chin. About the food, overall it’s very good, but after a while it becomes quite repetitive. Having sailed for nearly three weeks on the same ship two months earlier and now another two weeks, we found ourselves wondering what the food on other cruise lines is like. By the way, the food in the Garden Cafe buffet wasn’t bad, but because this was basically a cold weather cruise, everyone was eating inside. So, table space was limited at peak hours. Luckily, they let you sit in La Cucina up until afternoon. Not a lot of kids on this cruise as you might imagine as this is school time. So, that made it the perfect time for an Alaskan cruise. Cruising in July - August is probably the last place you’d find me. The entertainment was just so-so to be honest, so many nights we just didn’t go. Ports and shore excursions were ok, but in Alaska you could easily double the cost of the entire cruise and more. We did just basic sightseeing, no helicopters or sea planes. Alaskan ports seemed like one trinket store after another. Would I go again? Maybe, but probably not. Still, Alaska is a trip everyone ought to make once in their lifetime. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Salty food EXPENSIVE excursions are the Jewels main features!!! Took a 15 day trip on this cruise ship from Yokohama Japan to Vancouver, Canada and my blood pressure went up 60 points in 15 days!!! Food on this ship is salty and ... Read More
Salty food EXPENSIVE excursions are the Jewels main features!!! Took a 15 day trip on this cruise ship from Yokohama Japan to Vancouver, Canada and my blood pressure went up 60 points in 15 days!!! Food on this ship is salty and terrible and rarely served hot in main dining room !!!! Beef I tasted were from the cheapest cuts from the cheapest vendor and tasted HORRIBLE!!! Norwegian is such a stingy cruise line they don't even allow you to bring water bottles on the ship cause they want to sell them to you at $4.00 a 20 ounce bottle plus a whopping 20% service charge to boot!!! Wine prices were also very steep for wine that costs $4.00 a bottle in California they charge $26 PLUS 20 % service on top of that!!!If wine you bring wine from home they confiscate it or demand $15 a bottle service charge even if you drink it in the privacy of your own room. Norwegian scans your luggage and if they find wine they make you pick up your luggage and pay service charge of $15 a bottle. EVERYTHING on the ship is expensive and the the excursions are outrageous. They price gouge their customers at every single opportunity!!!! There supplemental restaurants are substandard and there chefs are cooks NOT chefs!! Cagneys was steak was a HUGE grilled piece of fat with perhaps 35% meat on it!!! The french restaurant was also TERRIBLE!!! French soup tasted like salt soup and the four mushrooms soup also tasted extremely salty!!! I paid $1375 for a window including a single supplement not a bad price had the food been edible. I will say the room was nice and the gym was acceptable and opened till 11:00. I would NEVER cruise with this company again!!When you won a trivia game you got no prize. On another cruise ship the winning trivia group got a bottle of sparkling wine but this company is too cheap to do that. Also at breakfast the eggs Benedict was awful and the lox and bagels comes with yellow cream cheese that tastes like chemicals and grease!!!If you cruise alone they rarely ever seat you with other people at dinner and lunch so you either eat dinner with the single cruisers or you eat alone on this ship !!! Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
My wife and I chose this cruise firstly because of the itinerary. We had always wanted to visit Alaska, and with Russia and Japan as well, we booked this cruise. Except for the 6 days at sea from Alaska to Russia, we were happy with this ... Read More
My wife and I chose this cruise firstly because of the itinerary. We had always wanted to visit Alaska, and with Russia and Japan as well, we booked this cruise. Except for the 6 days at sea from Alaska to Russia, we were happy with this cruise. It was more than we expected and this was our first cruise with Norwegian, we were happy with the ship and the staff. The shows were all very good and a couple of them were excellent. The Cirque Bijou was a highlight show plus a couple of others that were really great and professional. The service at the dining rooms was very good, and the only complaint we had was with the quality of the beef in the dining rooms. We did have one dinner in the Le Bistro and that was the best meal we had eaten for a very long time. We both had the filet steak which was done to absolute perfection. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
The ship was on its way to dry dock, so a few things needed updating, but all in all it was beautiful. We were in a balcony cabin, not as big as I would like, but we made do. The staff was outstanding. I ate in most of the specialty ... Read More
The ship was on its way to dry dock, so a few things needed updating, but all in all it was beautiful. We were in a balcony cabin, not as big as I would like, but we made do. The staff was outstanding. I ate in most of the specialty restaurants, and they were all wonderful. When we ate in the main dinning room, we were able to have the same table with the same wait staff each night who treated us royalty. The ports were all interesting. I did not do any ship shore excursions in Alaska, as I have done them before, however I did do the excursions in Russia and each port in Japan. All done well with good English speaking guides. The last tour/excursion was in Tokyo and this took us to the hotel NCL had arranged. The hotel was magnificent. Another great experience thanks to NCL. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
This is a cold water cruise - VANCOUVER TO TOKYO - but the pools were well heated and it was great swimming in warm salty mineral laden sea water when the air temp was cold outside! The hot tubs are great too - 4 of them - 2 at a warmer ... Read More
This is a cold water cruise - VANCOUVER TO TOKYO - but the pools were well heated and it was great swimming in warm salty mineral laden sea water when the air temp was cold outside! The hot tubs are great too - 4 of them - 2 at a warmer temp than the other 2. Pool/jacuzzi temps posted on the ship's channel and could be referenced everyday along with the captain's update on particulars. The pics of the ship are very bad - they do it no justice! It is a beautiful ship and going in for a retrofit at the end the Singapore leg of this trip - October, 2018. Regardless, the Jewel is beautiful and NOT garish like other ships. The staff nice as always. Jeff the assistant cruise director is particularly genuine. However, I didn't like the the competition among the staff - i don't think they should have to compete with each other for the title of "cruise hero." My only other "sorta"complaint is that whomever runs the volume at the shows in the Stardust theatre and the shows/happenings/dance classes/trivia etc in the Spinakker lounge put the volume WAY TOO LOUD. It was excessive and distorted the sound which made it more painful than ever. Otherwise - the choice of music even at the pool was often relaxing rather than thumping rave music! It's a cruise full of international travelers which makes it so very interesting - people's stories - and families - whether big or small - I love that. Not many kids - probably because of the time of year - school time - maybe about 15 in total and they were charming children. This cruise has a great combo of sea days with port day. I like both - the sea days are great for just lounging - and the port days you feel compelled to get your arse out there and see another part of the world! And at the end of the sightseeing day - there's your ship there waiting for you after walking miles seeing a new land. It was great! The staff were incredibly organized about leaving and returning the the ship - never much of a queue/line - hot towels - lemonade or hot chocolate depending on the weather - whizzed through security - presented with a cookie and we were back on board! Lovely. Dan and Jeff the cruise director and assistant cd are very nice people. There was a delay embarking in VANCOUVER - which lots of folk bitched about - but come on people - it was part of the adventure of travel! How often does that happen? Not very often and no cause for alarm. ALASKA: Sadly, the glaciers are almost all gone. Alaska is beautiful though and there are 3 stops there before heading out to the BERING SEA where DEADLIEST CATCH is filmed. The Time Bandit was sitting in dock in Ketchikan and it is a surprisingly small vessel! It was wild and woolly in the great north Bering Sea - but there were sunny days before we moored in PETROPOVLOSK - an island off the Kamchatka peninsula - yeah people - that Kamchatka from the game RISK you used to play when you were a kid! They said you had to buy a tour to obtain a visa to disembark in Russia for the afternoon - but that didn't quite happen. I believe all ship passengers were issued a visa - and the Russians were very efficient about it - stamped everyone's visa in the early morning and we were on tenders by 11AM. the ship was extremely organized about crowd control - embarking and disembarking whether on tenders or at port. Norwegian provided courtesy buses and tenders at most of the ports of call. The food on board was ok with some pleasant surprises. It was just kind of blah. They did have some nights were the entrees were decent - like suckling pig and pork roasts - roast beef - very little lamb though - and even a thanksgiving holiday meal evening which was actually quite well done for an east Indian chef! The bird was succulent and it was served with all the fixins' !!! However, all chicken on board was just inedible and smelled funky - I could not eat it - sorry! The fajitas on Mexican night weren't bad - but the refried beans and tortilla shells etc were processed. There is no need for that as they are easy to make. There was an abundance of fresh ripe fruit and selection of breads - but the latter seemed processed also. The breakfast fair wasn't bad - they made an excellent in kitchen muesli, which was surprising because there was a lot of processed food. There was the full range of breakfast goodies - whatever your liking - you could not be disappointed and the chefs were nice enough to always make my eggs with real olive oil instead of that spray on pam junk! The pastries/deserts were disappointing as were the soups - but the salad bar wasn't bad - no decent cheeses though even in the sandwich section - the cheese used was that processed american slices - not real cheese even! Although there was a wheel of blue cheese on occasion. The dressings awful too - canned! i don't know why, like the bread. they didn't make the dressings in house? The tea - not good either - but the coffee surprisingly palatable. The entertainment ranged from excellent to ok. The most professional were the gymnasts and Russian ballroom dancers, the 3 divas and a couple of others. The Russian ballroom dancers taught dance lessons too and that was fab -being taught by professional dancers - what a treat! I hope they keep that part because there were staff teaching dance classes but really - they weren't professionals and it was a bit of a loud joke. Wendy from South Africa and Julian from Australia were the exercise teachers and their classes were the favorites and most attended! Both delightful instructors. They were very zen about it - not pushy and vulgar like some personal trainers! Namaste! There is all manner of activity on board from daily trivia to Japanese and other language class that reminds me of the sailing days of yore when a passage was inclusive of classes in the language of the ports of call! Thank you Jeff and Dan for arranging that. Japan is incredible - the country ok - metropolis as far as the eye can see. But the people just amazing. what a delight - what a surprise - what a fabulous first time visit. I will certainly return for a spell in the land of the rising sun! I have been cruising since I was a kid - 1962 was my first sailing on the T.S. Hansiatic. My Mum loved big ships and passed that love onto her kids and I pass that love onto my son who travels with me. His first cruise was when he was 6. He said it was better than Disneyland! We have sailed many different lines over the years. This was our first time on Norwegian and we enjoyed it immensely. The Jewel is a gem of a ship and its crew and staff wonderful. It's pure hedonism - but hey - worth every moment lol! Don't hesitate to take this trip. Oh and I wanted to mention one last thing - the air filtration system on this ship - the JEWEL - is EXCELLENT! I have respiratory issues and always end up with some manner of respiratory distress when on a cruise - but did NOT get a respiratory infection on this ship. So just wanted to let y'all know! And they made every attempt to keep everyone healthy - which was much appreciated also. Bon Voyage then ..... Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
I chose this cruise due to the great itinerary, and my previous experiences with Norwegian. Unfortunately, NCL has evidently changed some of its policies to benefit itself. One would think that a single passenger would only have to pay ... Read More
I chose this cruise due to the great itinerary, and my previous experiences with Norwegian. Unfortunately, NCL has evidently changed some of its policies to benefit itself. One would think that a single passenger would only have to pay a maximum of a 100% Single Supplement. I paid the same as 2 passengers but while they would receive 2 Free at Seas, I only received one. And the amount NCL charged for the tips/taxes for the Free Drinks package was over $300 US. Not so free! The information then stated that in order to step onto Russian territory, you had to have either a Russian visa or be booked on an NCL excursion. This proved to be a lie, since as long as you didn't leave Petropavlovsk, no visa was required. As I have visited Alaska on several previous occasions, I was quite happy to fend for myself in the 3 Alaskan ports. I eventually was able to get a Russian excursion that wasn't several hundred dollars due to the perseverance of my agent, and I was very glad that I booked excursions for the 4 Japanese ports. The last one took us on a highlights of Tokyo and then to my hotel. Tokyo is a very intimidating city as far as getting around, so after the cruise, I was very glad to book with another tour company that picked us up from our hotel, took us to the bullet train station, to Kyoto for a tour there, and then all the way back to my hotel. On the final day, I had already booked an airport shuttle to take me to Narita airport, which was not far off a 2 hour trip. I truly feel fortunate that each activity that I had planned went off without a hitch. Embarkation was terrible in Vancouver. Even though I was provided with a 12 to 12:30pm time slot, I didn't actually get on board until after 3pm. NCL doesn't seem to think that its customers have any issues with standing in long lineups, with very little support for those who use walkers/wheelchairs. I can't stand for long periods so was very happy that my hardbody carry-on luggage could be used to sit on. I was totally exhausted by the time I reached my cabin. As far as the actual cruise, the food was fine in the 3 regular waited-on restaurants, as it was at the pay extra restaurants, although I questioned why I had bothered to pay the extra amount. The entertainment was okay but not as good as my previous cruises on the Sun and Dawn. My cabin attendant didn't get my room cleaned until mid-afternoon each day, not something I was used to with NCL. I have wanted to visit Japan for many years, so am glad that I took this cruise, along with the visit to Russia. Due to another passenger's medical emergency, we ended up turning around and visited an island south of the Kamchatka peninsula, which happened to coincide with a volcano starting to erupt straight ahead of us. I have never seen a volcano erupt before in person. There were 3 that erupted within a 24 hour period that passengers were able to see, and despite a couple of typhoons hitting Japan, we were able to miss both of them by the ship changing its course to avoid them. I will be on the Queen Elizabeth next June, a high end cruise line. I wonder why I was able to obtain a whole cabin on this ship for myself, while paying 0% supplement?! I will be looking at other cruise lines other than NCL in the future. I used to think that NCL had the best features, but no more. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
Excellent deal! Only drawback was the embarkation process - we ended up standing in line for about 1 hour in order to check in and get our sea card, even though we were there at our assigned time. Shore excursions were very good and on ... Read More
Excellent deal! Only drawback was the embarkation process - we ended up standing in line for about 1 hour in order to check in and get our sea card, even though we were there at our assigned time. Shore excursions were very good and on time. Even the port where we were tendered were handled well and in a timely manner. We also found out that we could opt out of the automatic $14.50/person gratuity entry to our on board account, and instead pay them directly to those we had dealings with. We had hoped to take advantage of the beverage package as one of our “perks”. However when we were told that we had to pay the gratuities on the retail price of the package up front (it would have been $400+/person) we opted out. Other cruise lines we have had this perk with have you paying gratuities each time you use it, which really seems more fair to me, especially as we are not heavy drinkers. We wouldn’t even drink enough to cover the amount of the gratuities paid. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2018
We certainly enjoyed the food in 'Le Bistro'. The trivia was very good. The itenery was why we chose to take our 1st Norwegian cruise. So much for the good. We bought an outside cabin, with an unobstructed window. That window ... Read More
We certainly enjoyed the food in 'Le Bistro'. The trivia was very good. The itenery was why we chose to take our 1st Norwegian cruise. So much for the good. We bought an outside cabin, with an unobstructed window. That window was so dirty that details we inaccessible. We asked, I begged(!), them to clean the window. They actually told me that those windows only get cleaned during drydock! Seriously? I watched the lady who relayed this to me, and even she could not believe what she was saying. Why buy an outside if you cannot use the window [and in Alaska even!]? She offered me an upscale dining as 'compensation' [we already had 4] and I offered in return to have our charges reduce to cost on Inside cabin, since THAT WAS ESSENTIALLY WHAT WE HAD!!!! Dumbest crap I ever dealt with on any ship. We have had 25+ cruises on other lines and NEVER have, or would have, been told they could not clean out window! The food in the buffet was LOW! No salmon, no steak, no shellfish of any sort. Cheap! And poorly prepared, every piece of beef or pork I had was simply tough. Incredibly, part of the problem was that meat slicers cut WITH the grain instead of ACROSS the grain. A little training needed. Food in Main dining was repetitive, but slightly better. As I said, the Bistro was very good, but the one with all that meat was giving us stuff clearly kept under a sunlamp and was dry and tough, i am sorry to say. As an aside, we both got sick with colds, very bad ones, after Russia, and we certainly do not hold Norwegian at culp for that. I will not say I will never be on Norwegian again. But it will take a truly great itenary at a great price to tempt us from other cruise lines like Princess, Holland, Celebrity, or RCC where service is SO MUCH better. Only our room steward, who did go out of his way to help, was an exception to the 'poor service' experience. I truly hope you reconsider the 'clean window' policy. Only an outside cabin has this problem, since folks with balconies can still see without going updeck. Seriously, this cannot be a rational policy in your mind. And I hope I never sail again on a ship where I cannot get my beloved smoked salmon for breakfast in the buffet. Doug Ralston Read Less
Sail Date: May 2018
We spent the “ Golden Week “ in Yokohama while the NCL Jewel hosted a private charter. We enjoyed Fruhlings Fest, and the Port festivals and activities while there. We explored and experience the world famous quality from Toyota, ... Read More
We spent the “ Golden Week “ in Yokohama while the NCL Jewel hosted a private charter. We enjoyed Fruhlings Fest, and the Port festivals and activities while there. We explored and experience the world famous quality from Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Kawasaki, Yamaha, Suzuki, Toshiba, Canon, Sony, Panasonic. Japan taught the world " just-in-time " manufacturing, and that organizations should value their employees. This 21 day repositioning cruise from Tokyo to Seattle was our final cruise leg, and return home. The itinerary was 7 sea days, with visits to 4 Japanese ports, 1 Russian port, Hubbard Glacier, and Glacier Bay, and 5 ports in Alaska. Communication issues with customs & immigration , & embarkation processes, were experienced, but to be expected with so many new ports, and several countries. Actually general communication on the ship was rather poor with instructions often being contradictory. Embarkation process was swift and efficient. We very quickly hit our first bump when our very first Japanese port, Shimizu was eliminated, as they announced the ship would remain in Yokohama the following day for mechanical repairs. The remining port stops in Japan were very good: Aomori: Neputa summer festival featured enormous floats with painted screens depicting Japanese Gods, historical figures and mythological beings. Visited the magnificent grounds of Hirosaki Castle. Hakodate: Highlights of Hakodate from the Goryokaku Tower, a 350 foot high observation point, to the busy fish market to the Mount Hakodate Ropeway. Otaru the port city for Sapporo on Hokkaido island (Japan’s northernmost island) is known for glassworks, music boxes and sake distilleries. It is a compact and delightful village for self exploration. Russia was a cold day, but memorable experience with our visit to Petropavlovsk ( St Peter & Paul ) A poor northern Russian city of about 200,000 surrounded by volcanoes. It is home to Russia's largest submarine base. The city proudly reflects its military significance. The gruelling hard winters, of which much snow still remains, toll on roads, pedestrian paths, and buildings is clearly evident. The pristine natural beauty of Alaska's high glacial mountains and tree lined shores. We saw many whales, dolphins, seals, and eagles throughout the passage. The ship's tour of both the Hubbard Glacier and the following day Glacier Bay, professionally narrated by Park naturalists, were very enjoyable. Initially the several public viewing locations were extremely crowded, and people quite rude in the crowds. We retreated to the viewing privacy of our balcony cabin and ventured into the public viewing areas later. Icy Straight Point was a unique cultural experience. Food was reasonable throughout the variety of ship restaurants. We now wonder whether it is a company strategy to have clientel pay more, and dine in the Specialty restaurants in an effort to find something of quality to eat. Cagney's was not the star restaurant on the Jewel with Le Bistro claiming that spot. Moderna & Chin Chin were also good albeit a very limited menu. Our experience with Teppanyaki was more show than food quality. There was a conspicuous absence of fresh salmon, king crab, or seafood of any sort, and much of the beef or pork served was rather tough, and often overcooked. Again we note most restaurant food was only warm - the exception being the Garden Cafe immediately upon opening. One of the most significant concerns remains " head office control " limiting the chefs ability to vary menus, and provide culinary cuisine more reflective of the area of travel. While it is nice to not deal with the logistics of transport, and accommodation in this variety of cities, we did miss out on experiencing the local cuisines – caviar, perogies & sourkraut, smoked salmon & bannock ! Overall entertainment quality and variety was good - the highlight being the Russian gymnasts. However the absence of any entertainment reflective of the oriental, russian, or native cultures, " enrichment programs " cultural , basic language , or port information was disappointing. Two enrichment seminars were given to an absolutely packed Stardust theatre - showing strong client interest. Unfortunately neither expert had ever being to the destination they were presenting on, resulting in weak, internet researched presentations. Onboard activities have been severely curtailed, and many services had very limited hours. The focus was clearly on NCL Shore excursions, and selling additional spa, dining, or health services. For example the library only opened for one hour most days, and although a quiet spot to read it smelled of smoke. Shore excursions desk was also only open briefly, and there were often significant lines. We guess they are trying to embrace the more cost effective electronic culture and encourage you to book that way. Most shore excursions were full bus loads and have become rather pricey. As all locations were new to us we booked primarily NCL excursions. Increasingly we discovered more guests successfully using independent guides, or venturing out on their own with taxis, and they were reporting much more satisfying experiences. The assembly process of participants in the ship theatre, disembarkation & load the tour buses continued to be chaotic, with clients arriving late, not queuing respectfully, & not following instructions. Frankly this waiting and disorganization caused many tours to be less than enjoyable. Using the walking or jogging track you also encounter “ smoking areas “ where your exercise and fresh air experience was dampened. For the most part staff were genuine and helpful, however there were several encounters were it was obvious staff were not allowed to think, and responded accordingly with a " standard answer " even when it made absolutely no sense in the circumstances. Disembarkation in Seattle was an unmitigated disaster ! We understand the ship docked on the opposite side than what was originally planned. As a consequence luggage had to be unloaded in the reverse order that it was organized. Multiple companies services are contracted by NCL to accomplish disembarkation of passengers and luggage quickly and efficiently. The lack of communication between the parties, the uncaring attitudes, and resulting chaos was a horrendous way to end the voyage. While our luggage was scheduled to be available in the first group at 8:00 am it was actually the dead last group some three hours later ! This placed passengers directly into mid-day “ long weekend “ rush hour traffic in downtown Seattle and created many subsequent problems with missed flights, and transportation connections. Not a single word of apology from NCL to its guests. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2018
The cruise was overall quite good. I was very disappointed that we didn’t make our first stop which was Mt Fuji (Simuzi). It was a key stop for us. The additional stops were interesting, especially as we got to Alaska. The Glaciers ... Read More
The cruise was overall quite good. I was very disappointed that we didn’t make our first stop which was Mt Fuji (Simuzi). It was a key stop for us. The additional stops were interesting, especially as we got to Alaska. The Glaciers and the beauty of Alaska is absolutely spectacular. Booking a massage on the cruise was easy and the massage was wonderful. However, the high pressure sales job after to buy all the products spoiled the experience. Word to the wise, don’t book spa services as this happens each time in spite of telling th no. Excursions were extremely pricey, even with a credit per port. The specialty restaurants were ok, with The Bistro top of my list. Carney’s was s disappointment both times we tried it. Moderno’s was okay. tepanyaki was fun and we went twice. Overall a good cruise. Weather was chilly but fine. Thanks for listening. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2018
This was a 21 day from Tokyo to Seattle cruise. We arrived 5 days early in order to explore Tokyo. Hired a local guide and had a great time. Stayed at the Marriott Shinagawa and used their Concierge Lounge. Great hotel and service. We ... Read More
This was a 21 day from Tokyo to Seattle cruise. We arrived 5 days early in order to explore Tokyo. Hired a local guide and had a great time. Stayed at the Marriott Shinagawa and used their Concierge Lounge. Great hotel and service. We took a cab to the ship and the embarkation process was swift and efficient as we had a 2 bedroom (H4) Haven suite. Our suite, Cabin 14010 was filled with mold and mildew. We are allergic to mold and mildew. Mold was also present in the duvette, sheets, and pillows. Steward and butler were great as they changed out everything and brought a HEPA filter. Also A/C ducts blew in dust and mold. Unfortunately none of that helped. We were sick for 12 of the 21 day cruise and wife still has bronchitis 10 days after the cruise. We were finally able to track the problem down to black mold in a leaky drain trough going across the bathroom area. The carpet was also filled with mildew. The crew repaired the leaky drain area several days before the end of the cruise and brought in industrial blowers to dry the area out. The mold and mildew were so bad that I had to sleep on the couch in our living room area and my wife had to sleep in the second bedroom. As if that wasn't enough, disembarkation at the new Norwegian Seattle terminal was a disaster. We had to wait 60 minutes for our luggage (even though we had priority) and when it arrived there was no orderly process to get the luggage. Just one big free for all. We asked the Norwegian terminal what was going on and they just shrugged their shoulders told us to talk to the ship personnel. Lastly, during our Norwegian transfer to the Seattle airport, the luggage compartment door of the bus opened and our luggage went bouncing down the Interstate. Bottom line, Norwegian is a great value, but I have yet to have a cruise with them where everything has gone right. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2018
This was our 6th cruise on NCL, but our first transpacific. We chose it because of its itinerary, its length, and that it ended as an Alaska cruise, which we have always talked about doing. This combination of Asia, Pacific, and Alaska ... Read More
This was our 6th cruise on NCL, but our first transpacific. We chose it because of its itinerary, its length, and that it ended as an Alaska cruise, which we have always talked about doing. This combination of Asia, Pacific, and Alaska was perfect for us. All the port stops in Japan were wonderful - Yokohama, Aomori, Hakodate and Otaru. The ship docked very close to town, and there was plenty to do in each place. Our most treasured experience was finding an onsen (hot springs bath, all nude, segregated by gender) in Hakodate. We were not impressed with Petropavlovsk though. Access was by tender, which wastes a lot of time especially with old folks with bad knees struggling to get on and off. Prior to the cruise, we were told quite specifically that we needed visas just to roam around town, so the best thing to do was sign up for an NCL shore excursion. Turns out that the Russians will let cruisers with no visas into town, just can't go beyond the city limits. The many days at sea crossing the Pacific was a real treat. Even better was getting an extra Wednesday because we crossed the International Date Line. Conversation with the cabin steward was fun - "what is today?" "Wednesday" "what is tomorrow?" "Wednesday." We did not go to any of the specialty restaurants. Of the free ones, we went to the Azura only once, and ate breakfast, lunch and dinner at the Garden Café buffet the whole trip. Food was good, not great. The first top round roast in the carving station was so tough, however, it defied mastication. Our cabin steward, Aris, was the best. He was never intrusive, did a great job with the room, and answered all our questions. His towel art creations were ones I had never seen before. If it were not for the the ship being even more worn out, we would take her back to Japan in September. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2018
Chance to see northern Japan, Russian port- which I never could see while in the Navy because of clearances for almost 30 years. Alaska was exceptional, as always- fourth visit. Never stop being overwhelmed with the beauty of the ... Read More
Chance to see northern Japan, Russian port- which I never could see while in the Navy because of clearances for almost 30 years. Alaska was exceptional, as always- fourth visit. Never stop being overwhelmed with the beauty of the country. It truly was a whale bonanza this year- think we can rest easy about the future of the humpback for a while. They are real showmen I'm convinced. Saw some of the lack of crew prep for disembark evolutions that others have noticed. Whatever the reasons, they are non-excusable. Continue to be amazed that people can stare at their phones; difficult to call their phones smart, while viewing some of the most incredible glaciers, wildlife, and natural beauty literally 360 degrees around them. Enough of the negative. Shore excursions were enjoyable, but overpriced through the ship. In Alaska especially, there are many other more reasonable providers of whale watching and White Mountain trips just to name a couple. This really was a unique cruise for me anyway, in that involved northern Japan and Russia. It also was long enough to really make some friends and settle down to a routine of your own choosing- difficult things to accomplish in a week or less cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2018
Cruised from Japan to Seattle, USA. The cruise ship was great, the staff very friendly, the food was good. We had an outside cabin with a large window. Included was the drinks package, special coffees (which could only be used in the ... Read More
Cruised from Japan to Seattle, USA. The cruise ship was great, the staff very friendly, the food was good. We had an outside cabin with a large window. Included was the drinks package, special coffees (which could only be used in the restaurants or the Irish bar), and water, and gratuities. The itinerary was very good with stops in Japan, Russia and Alaska. Getting off the ship at our final destination in Seattle was very slow and some people missed their flights. We arranged our own shore excursions throughout the trip. The only problem was when we were trying to purchase an expensive bracelet in the Tradewinds shop on board and the staff were telling us it was an Effy product, but when we visited the Effy shops on shore they advised it was not an Effy product. The ship could not tell us who actually was the manufacturer. Luckily we did not buy. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
We sailed on the NCL Jewel from Vancouver to Hawaii. This was our first transpacific cruise and were worried about the sea conditions. Having done a transatlantic cruise 2 years ago, we were expecting some rough seas but nothing compared ... Read More
We sailed on the NCL Jewel from Vancouver to Hawaii. This was our first transpacific cruise and were worried about the sea conditions. Having done a transatlantic cruise 2 years ago, we were expecting some rough seas but nothing compared to what we experienced on this cruise. The Ship The Jewel is very outdated and needs to be refurbished. The ship layout is confusing and there are a lot of dead ends. The crew did a great job keeping the ship clean. Cabin Worst ever. See below. However the cabin steward was very friendly and kept the room clean. Dining We had the 3 specialty restaurant package. The food in Cagney's was very good. The service not so much. Waited 20 minutes before the waitress acknowledged us and gave us water, which was a reoccuring theme in most restaurants. The menu has been changed with cheaper options. Moderno was good and the meats had great flavor. The salad bar had less options as compared to our cruise on the Breakaway and Dawn. Service was better here. Teppanyaki was very fun and the food was great as always. They need to change the dessert options here as both desserts were not good. They should have mochi or something similar Garden Cafe food was good but was very repetitive throughout the cruise. This being a 10 day cruise, it gets old quickly. The main dining room food was just ok. Like the garden cafe, the food options get old and after day 7, the menu repeated from Day 1. The service is the worst we have experienced on any cruise. Water glasses were never refilled unless asked, took 15-30 minutes before anyone acknowledged us and took our order. Sometimes the restaurant wasn't even busy. Unacceptable. Entertainment Cruise Director was an annoying guy from Australia. A lot of corny jokes. When hearing his voice during the announcements, it made you quiver. With so many sea days, the entertainment and activities were lacking. Spent a lot of time in the casino and as everyone does, lost. Maybe this is their goal so you spend more money in the casino. The shows were good especially burn the floor. The ventriloquest was hilarious as was the comedian. The hypnotist Brenda was very good as well. The Hawaiian show they had in the theater was very entertaining. Service Some crew members were great and others were not very welcoming especially in the dining room. There were times if we asked for something, it seemed like they were doing us a favor and like we were bothering them. Ports Hawaii was AWESOME! Will definitely be going there again After sailing our last 4 sailings on NCL, it's time for a change. Service has been declining and we feel like we are not enjoying the NCL product anymore. Next cruise will probably be on Royal Caribbean or Celebrity Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2017
The itinerary of this cruise was not to be believed. We saw the 49 day from Seattle to Sydney and then found they had an opportunity to extend the trip by combining a 5 day to Tasmania with a 13 day to New Zealand after reaching Sydney. ... Read More
The itinerary of this cruise was not to be believed. We saw the 49 day from Seattle to Sydney and then found they had an opportunity to extend the trip by combining a 5 day to Tasmania with a 13 day to New Zealand after reaching Sydney. Embarkation in Seattle was a little confusing to us, as well as the NCL personnel. There were circumstances we later learned that were overblown that kept cash paying customers from coming to Seattle to board the ship. They received a notice that if they were allowed to board the ship as their booking stated that they would be in violation of the Jones Act in some fashion. Most of us seasoned travelers could never figure out what the violation would have been unless it had something to do with the way the trip was booked by some of the cruisers in separate segments instead of the entire 49 day initial segment altogether. Anyway once we got past the visa/ETA snafu the boarding process was quick and efficient. We were welcomed aboard at the top of the ramp by a host of Officers and Uniformed Staff and once inside there was champagne being distributed by the wait staff and musicians were playing in the atrium. Having sailed with NCL on a few occasions we were familiar with the process of waiting for the staterooms to be announced as ready. We went up one deck to O'Sheehans and had some mozzarella cheese sticks and French fries while we waited. It wasn't long before they announced our floor was ready and we proceeded down what I like to call the "Secret Passageways" ( a couple of hallways on each side of the bar) to our room which was also located on Deck 8. The same as O'Sheehans. Clean, comfortable, cool and laid out well is how I would describe our Starboard side Oceanview Cat.A stateroom. Lots of closet space and convenient to the main dining room, Tsars, which has its Main Entrance just one floor below ours. The restaurant itself is on Deck 6. A spacious shower and the toilet was not cramped as is with a lot of other rooms. They replaced the mirror in our bathroom about 10 days before we reached Sydney. It was on their list of things to do. We had no issue with it. All in all I can recommend Stateroom 8122 as a good choice for location and quietness. The entertainment and Cruise Directors staff aboard the Jewel for this voyage was second to none. The Jewel Showband, the guest musicians playing guitars and piano in the atrium, the Alambre Trio, Taylor Kundolf, Fire and Ice, Temperature, the singers and dancers of the Jewel Production Cast and the Burn The Floor dancers kept everyone applauding the whole trip! Bravo.. The ports visited on this voyage were in order: Seattle WA, Ketchikan AK, Cruise Sawyer Glacier, Juneau AK, Skagway AK, Cruise Glacier Bay, Icy Point Strait AK, Sitka AK, Prince Rupert BC, Vancouver BC, Hilo HI, Nawiliwili Kauai HI, Kahului Maui HI (2 nights), Honolulu HI, Nawiliwili Kauai HI (2nd time), Hilo HI (2nd time), Nuku Hiva French Polynesia, Fakarava FP, Bora Bora FP, Moorea FP, Papeete FP, Raiatea FP, Bora Bora (2nd time and overnight),Pagp Pago American Samoa, Cossing International Dateline, Lautoka Fiji, Suva Fiji, Port Vila Vanuatu, Noumea New Caledonia, Isle of Pines New Caledonia, Sydney Australia, Burnie Tasmania, Hobart Tasmania, Sydney (2nd time) Melbourne, Australia, Burnie Tasmania (2nd time) Wellington New Zealand, Napier NZ, Tauranga NZ, Auckland NZ, Bay of Islands NZ and finally Sydney for disembarkation. 68 wonderful action filled days intertwined with days of nothing but leisure and enjoying the amenities of the NCL Jewel. Accolades to the Captains and the staff for our numerous tendering to a lot of these exotic locations that went off without a hitch. Using tender tickets and discovering that using ALL of the boats available was the best way to go with getting passengers off the ship and onto these islands so they could spend their time onshore. The weather cooperated 95% of the entire cruise with smooth sailing. The Jewel is a very capable ship and I look forward to visiting her again for another round of adventure. The officers made it clear that this voyage was a learning tool for them as well as an adventure for the passengers. Other than Alaska and Hawaii these were waters not traveled by an NCL vessel before and caution with safety seemed to be in place at all times. If this itinerary is ever visited again, along most of the same lines, I would seriously consider boarding for it once more. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
This was our second time on the POA as Hawaii is a favorite destination for us. It offers the best itinerary and is the most relaxing way to see all the islands, offering overnights in Maui and Kauai, two ports on Hawaii, and an hours ... Read More
This was our second time on the POA as Hawaii is a favorite destination for us. It offers the best itinerary and is the most relaxing way to see all the islands, offering overnights in Maui and Kauai, two ports on Hawaii, and an hours long sail by of the Na Pali coast which I don't believe anyone else offers. POA is the only cruise ship which sails strictly inter island and weekly, year round. Other lines offer only seasonal, trans Pacific cruises. However, this cruise the POA was returning from an extended dry dock in San Francisco and offered a unique 11 night return to Hawaii combined with the nearly normal inter island itinerary ( we lost the overnight in Maui ). Because it was a last minute change in dry dock location from Hawaii to San Francisco, we were able to book a suite for about what we had booked a balcony on our previous POA cruise. Too good to pass up. I have seen in other reviews that posters referred to this as a "luxury" cruise and it did not meet their expectation for a "luxury" cruise. Perhaps they were basing this on the cabin prices? When in paradise, there is a premium to pay. Hawaii is expensive and the POA is the only game in town. But Norwegian is not a luxury line, but very comparable to other mainstream lines like Royal Caribbean. If you go in with the right expectations, there is no better way to see Hawaii. In port daily, with overnights, it allows maximum time to explore the islands. This was our 9th cruise with Norwegian. We generally avoid the main dining rooms, preferring the specialty restaurants or the buffet. New menus were recently introduced. Three of the specialties are now "a la carte". Buying a 3 to 7 night dining package highly recommended. An a la carte meal including lobster which might otherwise cost $50 on an can be had for @$20 with a package, which has no restriction on items ordered. We had no problem with food temperature which others have noted, but we did notice a distinct decline in specialty food quality, particularly the meats, compared to other recent NCL sailings. We had a few less than stellar experiences with totally inept service in the specialties as well, something we had not run across previously. In general, the staff were pleasant, attentive and helpful, and appeared to be hard working. This cruise was delayed by 1 day, notifications going out only a couple days before sail date, with some people already in the port city or in transit, leaving some scrambling for hotel rooms. NCL did make good with a 1 day credit, reimbursement for 1days hotel and expenses and a credit of 50% of cruise fare paid toward a future cruise. I rated the embarkation process as poor, but in fairness, it was a 'one of' complicated by a new embarkation port and the surrounding confusion re the delay. We did not see any shows, but comments I heard were complimentry. Two theatre shows nightly, other shows in the cabaret and live music in various bars. Read Less
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