11 Tahiti (Papeete) Norwegian Jewel Cruise Reviews

I have been cruising since I was a kid because my Mom loved crusing - so she started us off young! I took my son on his first cruise when he was 5 - and he said it was better than Disneyland! I must concur. This particular cruise is ... Read More
I have been cruising since I was a kid because my Mom loved crusing - so she started us off young! I took my son on his first cruise when he was 5 - and he said it was better than Disneyland! I must concur. This particular cruise is really the only - and most civilized way to see the South Pacific - via Norwegian's island hopping cruise. You can fly from island to island - or take a private yacht - but it'll cost you a fortune! Don't hesitate to take this cruise - it was absolutely fabulous and that famous south pacific weather in the Coral Sea should not be missed! We have been on the Jewel before and cannot speak more highly of the staff, crew and entertainers. Norwegian does NOT disappoint and Stephen the head of the "hotel" aspect of the cruise does an outstanidng job of making sure everything is "ship shape" - pun intended - and that everyone is happy. You'll see him everyday surveying the ship and talking with the passangers. We had a problem with the toilet in our cabin - but guest services had it all sorted out within a matter of hours - no problem. This is an very international cruise - travellers from all over the world - from every continent - predominantly from Europe, USA, Canada and Australia. You'll hear every language spoken. The entertainment was fabulous - the free activites endless, something for everyone. The food was varied - and they even had a Thanksgiving feast - the whole 9 yeards - EXCEPT - surprisingly - no pumpkin pie ay ay ay! But we survived that lol ! Our cabin steward was a woman and that was nice for a change - they are usually guys. These guys have a harrowing schedule - they work 4 months off without a day off! So it's always a surprise to me how they can be so cordial under these work cricumstances. Be nice to them! The cruise started in Tahiti - we spent a week in Tahiti before the shipped arrived - and it was very exciting seeing the Jewel arrive and fill up that tiny port! We couldn't wait to get on board and be pampered! This particular cruise is an unusal intinerary - Tahiti, Raiatea, Bora Bora, 2 Fijian Islands, Samoa, 2 French Caledonian, Vanuatu and ends in "Seedney" (as the Aussie's pronounce it). It was something very special sailing into Sydney wiith its iconic harbor! I highly recommend this cruise. In fact, we loved it so much that we are thinking of taking the return version of it. My only complaint - and it's not really a complaint - is the Jewel went through a refit in Novemeber 2018 and the design theme of colorful "Bahamian" colors was changed to a cool grey. Sorry people - but I preferred the Bahamian colors. Now the ship looks too military for me! But that's simply my taste. Ohterwise - thank you so much Norwegian and the Jewel - its officers, crew and staff and entertianers and everyone who works on board for making travelling so enjoyable! You know how to pamper! Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We chose to cruise because my wife and I have never been to this part of the world (French Polynesia, American Samoa, New Caledonia) and we wanted to see Tahiti & Bora Bora, especially (Tahiti because of its history of the Bounty ... Read More
We chose to cruise because my wife and I have never been to this part of the world (French Polynesia, American Samoa, New Caledonia) and we wanted to see Tahiti & Bora Bora, especially (Tahiti because of its history of the Bounty mutiny). About NCL: We picked Norwegian Cruise Lines because of our past cruising wonderful experiences with NCL (Alaska & Hawai'i). Because of the priority escorting and boarding (penthouse suite), both embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly, even on the island excursion trips we were escorted to avoid the long lines. Very beautiful and elegant ship! A floating palace! THE CABIN & DINING: Our penthouse suite was located on the forward part of the ship under the bridge and from our balcony we had a beautiful view of everything. The suite was quite smaller than our mid-ship penthouse suite in the Pride of Hawai'i, but we had excellent service from our butler and steward and dining staff in Moderno (for penthouse & haven passengers) & most of the specialty restaurants. The food was well-prepared and presented with elegance, especially in the specialty restaurants. In the Garden Cafe' there were deliciously-prepared and variegated foods: ethnic; vegetarian; meats and poultry; comfort foods such as pizza, burgers, fries, etc.; soups, fruit beautifully decorated; desserts were bountiful, temptingly pleasing to the eye and delicious!!! So much to see and eat!!! And such wonderful presentations. There were many complimentary restaurants as well as specialty restaurants. One never runs out of choices. Many delectable menus to choose, and in our case, because we are vegetarians, the specialty restaurants were able to accommodate our special request. ENTERTAINMENT & ACTIVITIES: Wow! These are better than watching TV or the movies or seeing live Broadway shows. The Stardust Theatre is built to simulate a mini-opera house and the acoustics are excellent. There are evening live performances. Loved the comedians such as Jeff Harms; the acrobat/juggler; the hypnotist-comedienne; Le Cirque Bijou; the singing (tap & 50s & 60s - the older & retired love them); crew talent show (surprisingly good!). Simultaneously showing are also live singing performances and/or dancing in bars and lounges. Cruise director Dave is the best! Funny, witty, and entertaining. Live game shows in Spinnaker Lounge featuring volunteer couples are unique, funny and entertaining. Brenda and her sidekick Jen (?) are hilarious and kept us in stitches. There are daily morning workouts and dancing classes (all free) near the outside pool and hot tub areas and the gym. On sea days there are plenty of activities: exploring the ship inside and outside by yourselves (each restaurant is aesthetically pleasing to the eye and beautifully decorated); running; walking; jogging; shuffleboard; reading in a peaceful and quiet library; a game room for chess, checkerboard, puzzles, mah-jong; a tiny but pretty chapel; a video arcade; everywhere are long lounge chairs for sunbathing (believe it or not you still get the privacy); an art gallery where there are auctions for paintings; a gift shop (unfortunately, they did not sell books, esp. picture books of the places [French Polynesia, Fiji Islands, American Samoa, New Caledonia] that we've seen - for the cocktail table). SERVICE: The service and all the crew members are all excellent. They greet you with a warm and welcoming smile, and wish you a great day. Love the concierge, butlers, waiters/waitresses, stewards/stewardesses. They worked hard and were very helpful to the passengers. PORTS & SHORE EXCURSIONS: With priority boarding you get priority escorting to avoid the long lines when entering and exiting the ship. The excursions were well-organized and daily flyers for each excursion were distributed and available. If you'd rather explore the ports/islands by yourselves, you can walk/hike. PASSENGERS: Most of the passengers on board the cruise to French Polynesia (NCL Jewel) were senior citizens and retirees, or couples on their honeymoon or 2nd or umpteenth wedding anniversary. They come from all over the world: Western & Eastern Europe; Asia; Australia; North & South America; South Africa. This French Polynesian cruise is suited for older passengers, especially those who prefer the more quiet atmosphere. WOULD WE GO AGAIN? Heck, YES!!! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ CONCERNS: My husband and I are very health-conscious, vegetarian and eat primarily organic foods. Unfortunately, in our NCL trip we were not able to find any ORGANIC entrees in the restaurant menus, not even in the specialty restaurants. A minor note: We noticed that the paintings around the ship are now all abstracts and all look somewhat alike. Very boring, colorless, UGLY and not thematic at all with regard to the ship's itineraries. Also, in the Tsar's Palace the abstract paintings are COMPLETELY OUT OF PLACE. Unlike the NCL Pearl, where the Tsar's Palace had paintings of the Russian Tsar and his family and individual portrait/paintings, and rustic scenery art work, the NCL Jewel's Tsar's Palace is devoid of such elegance and beauty. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Our bucket list included Tahiti / Fiji and this cruise included this and more ! Loved the South Pacific / French Polynesian ! People were friendly...went to some villages and the kids are always smiling and waving ! Great snorkeling and ... Read More
Our bucket list included Tahiti / Fiji and this cruise included this and more ! Loved the South Pacific / French Polynesian ! People were friendly...went to some villages and the kids are always smiling and waving ! Great snorkeling and the bluest water ever (have been to the Caribbean and Hawaii). We thought the ship was very nice and the crew very friendly and nice (we like the smaller ships....2300 people) never too crowded. We liked how the buffet has multi islands of food rather than the cafeteria style buffet. Had Chinese restaurant we enjoyed and the others as well ! Would be nice if all bars / lounges (including the pool bar) had a "snack" (pretzels, peanuts, trail mix etc) at happy hour ! Would be nice if the early lounge game shows would also have a later show (in case you are eating or watching the main show). Would like more of the game shows. More hangers in the closet in the room. The overall experience we really enjoyed and can now cross these destinations off our bucket list ! Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
This was the 2nd leg of our 30 days from Hawaii to Australia which was an amazing itinerary with great weather. I covered most of the detail in part 1 of my review. A third of passengers were back to back so the vibe of the ship ... Read More
This was the 2nd leg of our 30 days from Hawaii to Australia which was an amazing itinerary with great weather. I covered most of the detail in part 1 of my review. A third of passengers were back to back so the vibe of the ship didn’t change too much. This itinerary was much more balanced than the first leg with no more than 2 concurrent sea days. The CD also settled more on this leg and got in the moment and did a much better job of creating a positive mood and hosted some talks and also got on the microphone when we were sailing thru Fiji. Tahani the assistant cruise director hosted a great progressive trivia and has a great ability to chat and remember the passengers. This cruise had a fantastic tap group from Australia who were highly entertaining. Candace (idol winner) was again superb as was Igor the band leader saxophonist. The other guest entertainers were ok without being great. As previously mentioned the activities lacked diversity and the activities staff seemed nervous and inexperienced. One new thing was the concert on the final night of the cruise in the Spinnakers lounge which featured all the musicians from around the ship it was a great event they should continue in the future. We did have cabin problems on this leg, strangely NCL gave very few back to backers the same cabin despite booking the same category, this caused unnecessary workload and unsettled the flow. This is the 2nd time we have done b2b on NCL and both times it has been handled poorly. We were never notified of the meeting. The queues to get new key cards took more than 2 hours! At least time they rolled the accounts smoothly. We were assigned a new inside cabin (11085) which was considered an upgrade to an IA from an IC and it was slightly better and in good condition but our previously voiced concerns (didn’t want to move) over potential noise problems were valid as on the first night we could hear everything from the buffet (particularly the late night cleaning), we had a downgrade move to an inside on 9 which was a much smaller room but also suffered from noise from the plumbing pipes behind the back wall. Thankfully one of the senior guest relations officers found us an oceanview on 4 to make up for some of the poor problems we suffered in the first leg. This cabin was an OF and was much larger than the previous inside cabins so we were much happier. It did suffer from noise as well as it was opposite the electrical station so a lot of buzzing was off putting and it was very noisy when entering port but at least it was much more comfortable. Our cabin attendant on this leg was first class. As on the last leg the hotel director was very visible and hands on and once again the loading and offloading of passengers in the ports was first rate. Food and service remained a high standard but again we were treated very poorly in specialist restaurants (we almost walked out of the Italian due to the incredibly rude hostess - thankfully the Maître D rescued the night but still a sour experience after an unbelievable port day) when using our platinum dining vouchers. Having said that my steak in Cagneys was first class. It was noticeable that less drinks are in the premium package than previously. Overall a great itinerary at a very good price. The onboard experience improved from the first leg but activities still need improving. Would recommend this itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Embarked at Papeete ran very smoothly . Especially loved our cabin and its position on the ship. It was a disabled cabin so had heaps of room to accommodate a wheelchair (which we did not have). The only downside to this cruise as opposed ... Read More
Embarked at Papeete ran very smoothly . Especially loved our cabin and its position on the ship. It was a disabled cabin so had heaps of room to accommodate a wheelchair (which we did not have). The only downside to this cruise as opposed to the others we have traveled on is the staff were not as friendly and some were quite rude. We traveled with another couple who had room 9098 which was the mirror image of our cabin. Food was OK but would not rave about it. We chose this cruise especially for the Itinerary which had a few sea days in between islands as we think it gets a bit tiring having a stop everyday and then you get bored having a few sea days . We got to stay in Bora Bora for an extra day as one of the other Islands were cancelled. We thought this was was great as other cruise ships we have been on would just give you an extra sea day. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
As an itinerary cruiser this trip has been amazing! All the ports of call have been new to me and have provided so many days of wonderful sights. The ship, however, is past due for a face lift. "Tired" is putting it ... Read More
As an itinerary cruiser this trip has been amazing! All the ports of call have been new to me and have provided so many days of wonderful sights. The ship, however, is past due for a face lift. "Tired" is putting it mildly. Carpet is worn and dirty, a lot of the furniture is "old" and needs to be replaced. The library, where I had hoped to find some peace and quiet reeks of cigarette smoke; cannot stand to go in there. No smoking is allowed in the library, but, smoking is allowed at the outside bar located near the library. On a more positive note, the officers, staff and crew are very professional, courteous and generous. All the servers have smiles on their faces, officers are attentive and staff are willing to help in any way possible. Despite the "tiredness" of the ship we are booked on another cruise on this ship in April of 2018. The itinerary that is offered is our main reason for booking again on this same ship. The entertainment on the ship has been superb! Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
Very nice ship, fitted out well, plenty of eateries and bars, but the allowable dress code, was appalling. I understand people like to relax and unwind, but there is a time and place, where you need to make an effort and night time dining, ... Read More
Very nice ship, fitted out well, plenty of eateries and bars, but the allowable dress code, was appalling. I understand people like to relax and unwind, but there is a time and place, where you need to make an effort and night time dining, is that time. Far too many people, rocking up in board shorts, singlets and thongs and expecting to be allowed entry to the Dining Rooms. We are not snobs by any means, but we do like to make an effort and dress appropriately, when we enter and are served a meal, in the ships main dining room. You want to dress and act like rednecks, then go to the Buffett. We did notice that waiter service, in the bars and dining areas, appeared to be cut back a little, compared to other ships. The food on board was very good, but we have experienced better on other Cruise Lines. Staff were very good, as we have found on other ships, but lacking in numbers on this ship. All the on board venues, both dining and entertainment, could have used some additional staff also, but on the whole, our cruise was good. The main theatre entertainment on this ship was exceptional and probably the best we have seen throughout our 15 cruises so far. The smaller bars provided reasonable music, but nothing you would write home about. Cruise Director and staff were always mingling with the passengers and available to answer questions. The Captain and ship's officers were seen to be walking around the ship daily and always speaking with the passengers. We joined the ship in Papeete and the whole process of getting on board, seemed to take forever, but this may have been the first time, a ship has embarked hundreds of passengers here and the facilities were just not up to task. Disembarking in Sydney was fine without any problems. As stated above with minor grievances set aside, I would recommend this ship for future cruises, if your happy to hang out in your shorts and thongs all day, then this is the cruise line for you. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
This being our first cruise, we just didn't know what to expect. I had visions of lots of people and no room to move but it was the opposite even though it was a full cruise so we were very pleased. we had a mid ship balcony ... Read More
This being our first cruise, we just didn't know what to expect. I had visions of lots of people and no room to move but it was the opposite even though it was a full cruise so we were very pleased. we had a mid ship balcony which was quite spacious and had plenty of storage. Suitcases slid under bed which was great. Ample shelves and full size wardrobe. Toilet little cramped but fine. Big shower. Room attendant was wonderful. Bed very comfy. Staff in general super helpful and friendly. Very up to date in regards to health and hygiene. Good medical centre and hand sanitizing everywhere. 'happy happy, washy washy staff at all eating places.... Free style dinning means eat where you like any time. Booking required for a couple of the specialized eateries but there was always the garden buffet which was fantastic and had a huge range of food for breakfast , lunch & dinner. The ship is not huge which is nice. Aproximately 1.40 kms to walk around on the walking track. Lovely art deco style bars and furnishings. Great duty free shop. All the usual things you would expect. Plenty to keep amused with activities etc. We loved it. An older style ship in our opinion but that was what made it charming. Not too over the top like i imagined some cruises might be. I think great for couples and older people but also families as well. 2 pools and kid minding. Well done norwegian cruise line. You got us hooked. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
My brother and I chose this cruise because it traveled through French Polynesia to Australia on an itinerary we liked. We always wanted to see Tahiti and Fiji, and this cruise also included Bora Bora, Moorea, and Raitea in French ... Read More
My brother and I chose this cruise because it traveled through French Polynesia to Australia on an itinerary we liked. We always wanted to see Tahiti and Fiji, and this cruise also included Bora Bora, Moorea, and Raitea in French Polynesia, as well as Samoa, Vanuatu, and 2 islands in New Caledonia as well. There was an itinerary glitch. Apia, Samoa was cancelled due to port construction, but an overnight and extra day was added in Bora Bora. This was an excellent trade off. The staff in all hotel and restaurant positions was universally friendly and helpful. It has always been my experience that NCL staff is top notch when it comes to friendliness. The entertainment was varied and generally very good. I rate only 2 days out of 17 as sub par. Burn The Floor dance shows are very good. Public spaces were better than expected. You didn't feel crowded in any venue. Food and accommodations were as expected. Embarkation was outstanding. Overall, the value and amenities exceeded my expectations, and I am platinum plus on NCL. This was a good cruise. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
Unless you have the dinning package and drinks package, having to eat in the complimentary dinning rooms can be very hit and miss, mostly miss. The food overall their was not good. Drinks for Aussies extremely expensive. If you wanted good ... Read More
Unless you have the dinning package and drinks package, having to eat in the complimentary dinning rooms can be very hit and miss, mostly miss. The food overall their was not good. Drinks for Aussies extremely expensive. If you wanted good food you had to dine in the extra pay dinning rooms, this should not be the case, why should the buffet be of such poor standard, cold, plastic sliced into salami not cut off, all bland. The inside cabins we all just called them kennels as they were so small. (have cruised in many inside before). On a bright note, the nightime production numbers by "Burn the Floor" were fantastic, first class. The ports we visited were fantastic, the tendering service worked okay. If you are unstable on your feet, don't cruise tendering ports, we saw too many people hurt and who could not handle the heat. The ambulance was at very port. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
As the title suggests we were not overly impressed by the ship as far as first impressions goes it was a fail for Norwegian. The ship looked very nice at the docks we viewed it the night before boarding but alas that was to our only good ... Read More
As the title suggests we were not overly impressed by the ship as far as first impressions goes it was a fail for Norwegian. The ship looked very nice at the docks we viewed it the night before boarding but alas that was to our only good impression. The boarding experience was abysmal we lined up for and hour and a half in hot conditions imaging that it must be slow as they were checking people in but no that was just getting them on after finally making it on board we were told to climb two flights of stairs to finally do check-in. Disembarkation went a bit better at least we were never in weather conditions. I'm afraid my review is not going to be positive but here goes anyhow. The first onboard shock came with the size of the cabin the smallest I have ever been in the design was user unfriendly the cabin was supposed to be suitable for 4 fat chance. The upper bunk slid down from the side wall it protruded out making it a hazard getting in and out of bed the other side had a useless table almost against the bottom of the bed meaning you had to crawl in and out of bed. We met another couple experiencing the same difficulties who suggested we make it into twins (so romantic NOT) it made it a lot more workable but this was a special holiday we would have liked to share the same bed. The bathroom although compact did have a proper shower screen a first for us and much appreciated. BTW never did figure out where the fourth bunk would have gone if the were 4. Thinking it must be going to get better we headed to O'Sheehans for our first drink with a view only to be scolded by the waiter for sitting down without asking and going to the bar ourselves it took some days to return. This bar although situated in a good position seemed unable to handle crowds their service lacked each time we did return. On a positive note about O'Sheehans for those who wish to send a picture and short message home who do not have WiFi you can send from a machine just outside the bar on a daily basis. Other free food outlets were good enough if a bit repetitive the buffet sometimes suffered what many buffets suffer and that is not overly hot food. The main dining was usually pleasant if a little noisy I think maybe the ceilings are a little low. No one could have left the ship starving the washy washy girls were just delightful they made our days. The ship itself is well in need of its upcoming refurb old carpets seating and the Italian restaurant is so old hat its just not funny. I was told by other passengers that other ships are a lot nicer so I would recommend using one of them until after the refit. The outside deck space was very exposed during sunny weather some umbrellas would help greatly as shady spots were near impossible especially with the usual deck chair hogs who appear to rise before 5am. I was thinking post cruise some of the staff may be very tired and stressed as service was lacking in many area. We did find some staff very pleasant and friendly and interested to have conversation we enjoy talking to staff to find out about their home countries and to show interest in them personally. The entertainment was a bit of a fizzer the house bands were mostly boring except Temperature. The best attribute they had was the dance troupe Burn the Floor they were fabulous but were under utilized over the 18 nights they could have done double the shows. If that had happened I would have overlooked other disappointments they were so exciting highly talented and together with the acrobats just amazing. Black Tie were also very talented and we enjoyed both shows they made a change of pace and not the usual package comedy classical music and opera. I am not into magicians illusionist mediocre comedians or cover bands/artists and that made up the rest. As this cruise was on its way to Australia it would also have been helpful to have one chanel on the TV that had Australian news so damned sick of the Trump show and a better selection of movies then repeating the same over and over. The reason for our selecting this cruise was the ports and we were not let down. We began our holiday in Moorea several nights pre cruise loved it. Our first cruise port Raitea was lovely although we went of a private excursion to Tahaa to do ray and shark as well as drift snorkeling. Our second the much anticipated Bora Bora it lived up to all the hype same kind of excursion but added a coral garden and 2 to 3 mt lemon shark experience. Next American Samoa should have explored further but was not well that day I think it could have been interesting on the places further from the port. Unfortunately the choices in Fiji not the best but we still did go to and outer island from Lautoka but just looked around Suva on our own. Vila is always nice great duty free we spent the day on Erakor island just snorkeling and sunning hardly and guest so very relaxing. Noumea turned out to be a surprise went to Duck island first impression not great but once we found the snorkeling chanel it was supurb fabulous variety of fish and quality coral. Last of all and all time favorite Ilse of Pines such a sweet place even with all the ship on shore it still never gets overcrowded as there is both beach and lagoon. I can truly say I wish I could have loved the ship but just couldn't have never been able to find anything to compare with the smaller RC Radiance of the Sea design food and entertainment. Read Less
Sail Date October 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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