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