1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2019
Embarkation was illogical- lines going upstairs, then downstairs to immigration then lines to Border patrol. Disembarkation was poorly organized in the theater for those traveling to Seward via the Alaskan train. The NCL person was ... Read More
Embarkation was illogical- lines going upstairs, then downstairs to immigration then lines to Border patrol. Disembarkation was poorly organized in the theater for those traveling to Seward via the Alaskan train. The NCL person was giving out confusing info regarding leaving the theater. People were exiting the ship without any knowledge of the train. Upon disembarking, I turned over my voucher to the Train and received my seat assignment. Total misinformation from NCL. Inside Cabin 9673 was very quiet. Cabin Steward Muhammad Shalahuddin was very gracious, helpful and attentive. As a solo cruiser, when eating in the buffet-my table was cleared regardless of my iPad, book, or backpack being visible. I was hit, bumped, knocked, kicked and pushed by small Asian women moving in herds. Cruisers leaving food and dishes outside of their cabin. It’s rude, makes it difficult to pass the narrow hallways with others and cabin crew’s carts. Those leaving elevators all took the same idea that no one else was around and continued to block the exiting area to have a conversation. Casino’s Black Jack was seemingly not controlled by number of people at the table coupled with amount the person was playing/hand with the dealer pushing buttons at each hand. On the brand new ships: Epic, Breakaway, Getaway, Bliss and I’m guessing the upcoming Encore, the dealers are always pressing buttons before each hand is dealt. (Cruiselines don’t have State Gambling Laws to follow). CAGNEY’S STEAKHOUSE-enjoyable with great service LE BISTRO-located off a bar area with “live music” the hostess closed the outer doors which silenced the bad performer. The chocolate fondu is the best dessert. LA CUCINA- Why is the Caesar salad removed from this menu? This restaurant is directly under the basketball court. People at 8:00pm were playing basketball and the entire ceiling of La Cucina was shaking while being pounded. Cruisers all were questioning the wait staff. The answer was, “the court is closed but people climb around the closed ropes.” Why wasn’t security called to address this huge issue while people were paying extra for the specialty restaurant? AZURA RESTAURANT: very noisy Thermal Suite Spa- clean, quiet, single-sex areas, with a handful of people. Sam, the Spa Manager is delightful, sweet, and engaging. VELVET- very disappointing for NCL’s live entertainment. The (Lexi) female lead’s pitch was often off. The company dancers were poor. Feet, arm placement, hands of all the dancers were always off and never together. The extremely overweight male “dancer’ (Marc) that appeared on stage was simply outrageous, hideous and far from entertaining. He simply was laughable and horrifying. My 10th NCL Cruise- the sound techs continue to be clueless in sound production: Balance, treble, bass, and dynamic levels were all problematic. THE COMEDY OF ACE GUILLEN: This act should be re-named, ACE GUILLEN: HIS MUSICAL OUT-TAKES. There was no comedy to this performance. However, the last night on the ship, Ace did a show featuring his ‘adult comedy.’ He was quite funny. LE CIRQUE BIJOR: most entertaining featuring (Vlad & Anna) and (2 male gymnasts). The dancing was together. A NCL person said VELVET was a new production. POOL: has a lifeguard on duty. I was baffled by the Alaskan ports claiming ‘duty free’ when we are traveling in the US. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
If you're looking for a budget-friendly cruise without the frills, the Norwegian Jewel is the way to go. After cruising Alaska with Holland America in years past, it's much easier to see how NCL just throws in the towel on ... Read More
If you're looking for a budget-friendly cruise without the frills, the Norwegian Jewel is the way to go. After cruising Alaska with Holland America in years past, it's much easier to see how NCL just throws in the towel on effort past selling shore excursions. The ship was basic - everything you'd need no matter where you're sailing to. The cabin was efficient. The dining rooms were average - although the specialty dining rooms were very much worth the extra money! Service was what was expected - except for in O'Sheehans... some of the rudest staff members on the high seas. The Alaskan ports are absolutely breath-taking and a must see for every one! We'd do this cruise again only because the price is right and the ports speak for themselves. If you're looking for a more authentic Alaskan experience, I'd recommend Holland America, but the NCL Jewel is a great budget friendly way to see it! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2019
Start with Embarkation - the Easiest ever and the most friendly! The ship was just remodeled 4th qrt 2018 and is quite beautiful. We dined in Modernaro the brazilian steakhouse, 2 nights in Cagney's the regular steakhouse, Asian ... Read More
Start with Embarkation - the Easiest ever and the most friendly! The ship was just remodeled 4th qrt 2018 and is quite beautiful. We dined in Modernaro the brazilian steakhouse, 2 nights in Cagney's the regular steakhouse, Asian restaurant Chin Chin, Tepanika Tsar's Palace Dining room and the buffet. Mica was our favorite waitress and Mary Lo the BEST Hostess! We enjoyed them all, in particular Cagney's and Tepanika. Tsar's Palace is quite beautiful and the service was simply wonderful . . . as a matter of fact the service everywhere on the ship was the incredible, the friendliest staff with anticipating your needs (and I have been on over 30 cruises). Really loved the shows, the acrobatic show and Carl Strong comedy being the favorites. Went to the spa for 4 different treatments, Sam gave the best pedicure and manicure I have every had! John D'Souza was an incredible concierge and during disembarkation when things started to get back up and not going as smoothly, John was right in the middle of it, fixing things for a better easier flow! Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
Very disappointed in the entertainment except for the comedian. the food was great but the buffet was a zoo. there should have been another one for that many passengers. We went to the dining room for all our meals after the first day ... Read More
Very disappointed in the entertainment except for the comedian. the food was great but the buffet was a zoo. there should have been another one for that many passengers. We went to the dining room for all our meals after the first day which always took longer. The food was great everywhere but the desserts were poor. They all looked beautiful but tasteless. Our Junior suite was a perfect size and the balcony was just the right size but it never got cleaned and there was hair and dirt on it. I personally washed the table off each day. The girl looking after our cabin was very nice and helpful but run off her feet with all the cabins she had to look after. We talked to lots of staff and got to know them in the restaurants and everywhere else on the ship and they are all extremely friendly and polite. NCL needs to have more help for the cabins though. Tons of employees in the dining rooms, but cleaning staff no.The shore excursions were great but extremely expensive. You are better off to go ashore and book your own. There are lots waiting for you and you don't have to worry about getting back to the ship before it sails because everyone knows when you have to be back. You just have to be sensible about what you want to do. The ship is beautifully decorated no expense spared there. We booked the Denali 12 day trip and when we got to the buss at the end of the cruise it was not the "luxury coach" they advertised. The seats were too close together and depending on which seats you sat in your knees were touching the back of the seat in front of you so no stretching. No TV screens, there were a few through out the bus but they are never used. There was a group of 12 people plus their tour director from "Tours of Distinction" who immediately "Reserved" the first 6 rows of the bus for her group and this was on a NCL bus! They had all their meals booked and paid for while the rest of us were dropped off in the middle of downtown and given an hour to find our own. There were 49 people on the bus and the other 36 people on the bus were not impressed and it was discussed a lot. people even spoke up about the unfairness of it but it was ignored. I feel sorry for Patrick our bus driver because it seemed the T. of D. guide was calling the shots. The Denali Forest is awesome but come on 5:30 in the morning for pick up and 6-8 hours on another bus that was like a school bus. We were all crippled getting off at the end of the day. The train we were supposed to ride on with the dome cars was not running for 2 days before we got off the ship but no one told us until we asked because we were hearing it was cancelled and that was the biggest reason for that part of the tour. Finally we were informed we might be able to get on it tomorrow. Wild fires and slides had stopped it. I know you can't control these things but we should have been informed before we ever got off the ship, they knew 2 days earlier that the train wasn't running. This whole experience left a bad taste in our mouth and we won't be sailing with NCL again. When you pay over 11 thousand dollars not including airfare for a cruise you expect better. The exercise room was a quarter the size needed. There were lots of activities for children but only 3 decks of cards in the games room and it was packed. We bought a deck of cards but was difficult to find somewhere quiet to play where the wind didn't blow the cards away. The buffet dining tables were not available to use and the dining room that they told us to use, the lady who is the one in a uniform was in there listening to someone playing the piano and she shooed us out of there even when we told her the signs on the table told us to go there if we wanted somewhere quiet to play cards. There was a casino or you could go to one of the lounges to listen to employees of the ship sell you a service on board or where to shop at their stores at the next port. Everything was geared to get more money out of you. I thought cruises were inclusive except for alcohol but I soon found out the paying never stops. The one major thing we learned was the cruise lines have created an industry where every port they pull into , the majority of the businesses are owned by them and the locals have no control. We felt much better shopping for trinkets and T-shirts from Anchorage and Fairbanks where you could buy something actually made by someone in Alaska not china and cheaper. I wonder are all cruise ports of call the same. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
Our cabins were kept spotless and we always enjoyed the placement of our kids stuffed animals. Whenever we had a question, our stuffed animal wrangler/room steward, was more than willing to stop what he was doing to explain things to us. ... Read More
Our cabins were kept spotless and we always enjoyed the placement of our kids stuffed animals. Whenever we had a question, our stuffed animal wrangler/room steward, was more than willing to stop what he was doing to explain things to us. This was our first cruise to ever take. We had our 5.5 year old & 7 month old. Our oldest loved splash academy and our youngest enjoyed being able to drum his hands on any surface he could touch. The food was not our favorite though. It didn’t leave a lot of options some days. It seems like they mainly focused on food from the Asian or Indian cultures. We are a lot of cheeseburgers. Also, the fancier restaurants didn’t have very good descriptions for the types of meals. It we always knew that if we didn’t like a meal there, we could go to the garden cafe to get a burger. I was really hoping they would have some simpler desserts. A lot of them had jellies or “goo” on them, especially the cakes. My oldest d that they had chocolate chip cookies or peanut butter cookies. Overall, we did enjoy our trip and would love to take another in the future with our boys. We would just hope that the food options improve. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
We had an interior room; however, I recommend a balcony room as Alaska offers beautiful scenery especially when going thru fjords. Overall, the ship was great. It has been recently remodeled and they did a great job. The food was amazing. ... Read More
We had an interior room; however, I recommend a balcony room as Alaska offers beautiful scenery especially when going thru fjords. Overall, the ship was great. It has been recently remodeled and they did a great job. The food was amazing. We ate in the Tsar, Azura, and Chin Chin. Being vegetarian, they were very accommodating and we could pre-order our meals the day before. Regardless of which restaurant we ate at, Tsar's or Azura, they would have our order. Chin Chin didn't have very many vegetarian options. Being with meat eaters in our group, we wanted to dine together. The others weren't too thrilled with the food there either. The sushi was good, but that's extra charge. The shows were great - Larry Omaha (comedian), Anna and Vlad (acrobats), and the main show on the last night were amazing. Must see!! We missed the Quest but Perfect Couple game was hilarious!! Don't miss it!! Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
Always wanted to travel to Alaska and thought a cruise would be a great way to go. Our travel agent recommended NCL and we had heard good things about the cruise line. All in all we had a great time but it was a rocky start to the cruise. ... Read More
Always wanted to travel to Alaska and thought a cruise would be a great way to go. Our travel agent recommended NCL and we had heard good things about the cruise line. All in all we had a great time but it was a rocky start to the cruise. On the 1st day after we boarded the ship we went to OSheans for lunch. We waited 45 minutes for our food to arrive and it was all served to us at the same.. the drinks, appetizers, entree and dessert. You can imagine how frustrated we were after waiting 45 minutes. All of our hot dishes were cold and by the time we were served we needed to leave as the ship was about to sail. Not a great start. Then the same night in the main dining room (Tzars Palace) we had an extremely inexperienced waiter who was neither competent or friendly. Very disappointed that the dining room supervisor or manager didn’t come by to see how we were doing. The next 2 nights we dined at the specialty restaurants and they were delicious and the staff was amazing. We ate at Cagney's and Le Bistro. The wait staff was more than wonderful and went out of their way to please us. It was our anniversary when we ate at Le Bistro and they brought out a cake to our table for our whole party of 5. We did try the Main dining room the next night and it was much better. For breakfasts and lunches we split between the main dining room and the buffet. The cabin was very nice and spacious. We were in a mini suite with a balcony. Had a few maintenance issues but they were quickly resolved. The entertainment on board was very good. The first night could have been more than just a taste of what entertainers were going to do during the cruise but the shows were excellent (except for the comedian). The ship captain was wonderful when we arrived the 2 Glacier sites. He was able to get us up close to the glaciers and turned the ship 360 degrees so that all on board could get a great view. Had a good experience with the internet on the ship although there is an additional charge. The ports and excursions were fine. We enjoyed the 3 ports that we visited. We also extended our stay in Alaska with a land tour to Denali. The tour guide was just ok and the itinerary could have been tightened up a bit as there was a lot of on your own time. Also all meals were on your own. The hotels we stayed at were also top notch. Also too many consecutive days on the bus for long periods of time. But the places we visited were beautiful and Denali is not to be missed! Wish we could have had more time in certain spots and omitted other stops that were useless. That being said it was a wonderful experience and I recommend it to anyone who loves nature and the great outdoors. By the way our weather could not have been more beautiful. We were very fortunate to have only 1 day of rain during our 12 day cruise tour. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
We wanted a one way Alaskan cruise and this cruise was most suitable for our dates and timing. Cabin was clean and nice. Our cabin attendant was good and did a great job throughout our journey. This cruise had a good entertainment and ... Read More
We wanted a one way Alaskan cruise and this cruise was most suitable for our dates and timing. Cabin was clean and nice. Our cabin attendant was good and did a great job throughout our journey. This cruise had a good entertainment and activities too. We enjoyed all the shows. Hats off to the hard working Housekeeping and restaurant staff. We booked few excursions through ship and it went well. We could not do much at Juneau port due to not so good weather. This cruise had excellent itinerary. We covered nice ports, beautiful glaciers and some great food at shores/ports too. We are not so pleased with the quality and taste of the food at complimentary restaurants. It’s really very disappointing to see Indian food tastes below average when the cruise had Head Chef and F&B manager from India. This is a shame! Overall we had a good time. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
We have sailed with NCL in the past and we picked this cruise because we liked the itinerary of the land and cruise. The land part was very fast paced with early days and a lot of time on buses. We liked that we got to see so much of ... Read More
We have sailed with NCL in the past and we picked this cruise because we liked the itinerary of the land and cruise. The land part was very fast paced with early days and a lot of time on buses. We liked that we got to see so much of Alaska and our tour guide Madonna and bus driver Steve were very knowledgeable and enthusiastic. We spent the first day in Fairbanks and the first morning at Susan Butcher's Trail Break Kennels. She won the 1986, 1987, 1988 and 1990 Iditarod. Even though she passed away a few years ago, her husband and daughters continue on the tradition. We learned a lot about the history of dog mushing and got to see the dogs first hand. They are all so happy. The highlight was getting to hold the puppies. We then went on to see the Alaskan Pipeline and panned for gold. We chose the optional River Boat Cruise in the afternoon which was also fun and informative. We saw a replica of a Native Alaskan village and it was great to see all of the culture of Alaska. We also saw another presentation for the Trail Break Kennels. We got in to Fairbanks a day early and we stayed at the Rivers Edge Resort.They have a bunch of nice cabins on the river. The restaurant attached is the best in Fairbanks and it was really good! Day 2 was a train ride to Denali National Park. The train was very nice and we had an optional breakfast on board. We then took a bus tour in to the Park. We were on the bus for about 8 hours total but we saw lots of wildlife and tour guide was very informative. He stopped anytime we saw wildlife. We had multiple rest stops and we were able to see Denali (Mt McKinley) which was so beautiful. We stayed at the Grand Denali Resrt. Beautiful views overlooking the river. The restaurant was really good as well. Try the salmon cakes! Day 3 was another train ride to Talkeetna, a cute town where we had lunch. Think Northern Exposure. Then on to Anchorage. We spent the night and then got up to see Anchorage. We stayed at the Sheraton. It took 2 hours to get our luggage. Trying to get coffee in the morning took forever. They were completely under staffed even though they knew 3 tour buses were coming in and leaving at the same time. No apologies and complete indifference. Unfortunately being on a land part of the cruise apparently gives you last priority to board the ship. While everyone else was able to board at noon we were not able to board til about 5:30. We were stalled in Anchorage and then we stopped briefly at the Wildlife Conservation Center. Then stalled again in Seward. By then most of us were done with buses. It should be that you leave by 9am, drive to the Conservation Center and board the ship at noon for lunch. We had a suite as we were traveling with our two adult daughters and it made better sense than to have 2 cabins. Just an FYI. If you have a 2 bedroom suite you only get 1 hotel room on the land part of the cruise which we thought was ridiculous! Luckily we figured this out before and paid more money to get 2 hotel rooms but our tour guide says that a lot of times people figure this out for the first time when they check in. We had the Ruby Penthouse suite which was amazing! Getting a suite gets you priority check in and a concierge who helps you throughout the cruise. Dinner reservations, priority disembarkation at ports etc. Our suite also came with butler service. It was so nice to have breakfast brought to our room or have hot chocolate in the afternoon. Also you had special deck privileges for viewing glaciers. Our suite had a bedroom and bath right when you got in. Think inside cabin. It had a full bed and a twin bed bunk bed. The bathroom was a decent size. Then there was a living room with a table with four chairs and a couch and coffee table and a balcony. It had a refrigerator and Nespresso coffee maker. The second bedroom was right off the living room with a King size bed and a huge bathroom with double sinks, a big closet a tub with floor to ceiling windows and a walk in shower with floor to ceiling windows as well, and multiple jets. We loved the suite!!! Also with a suite you get your own private dining room for breakfast and lunch. The food in there was really good!!! Also you get priority disembarkation and we got through customs very quickly. The ship was recently remodeled and felt new and nice. The only problem is this is a very small ship. So there are not a lot of extra amenities. There is a spa and a casino and a theater but no other things to do. The scenery is breathtaking but unless you are into Bingo or playing cards there is not a lot to do on the ship. The game room (board games, cards, etc.) was packed. They should have made it twice as big with the lack of other activities. Luckily we had our suite. We often brought cards to a bar area and played there. The food was ok. In the upgraded restaurants the food was really good but in the main dining rooms it was just ok. I was disappointed that on an Alaska cruise there was not more salmon or King Crab. We actually ate off the ship in very port and had the most amazing meals. With all of that seafood available it should have been offered more on board. The shows were good with a mix of musical, comedy and a Cirque show. We always got seats no problem and they have people bringing you drinks right up to showtime. The casino was fun but the table had a $10 minimum and went from there. Most sat empty. We would have used the table more if maybe there was a $5 table. The ports of Icy Strait, Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan were small and could be seen in about an hour or two. Most people took excursions at each port. Since we had done the land part we just walked around, ate and enjoyed the quietness of the ship. The excursions were really expensive. Most were around $200 per person and with four of us that would mean spending another $800. The highlights were the Hubbard Glacier and Dawes Glacier. We were amazed at the beautiful blue iceberg and seeing seals float by on them was so serene. We did have a photo session at the Hubbard Glacier. It is not cost for the session and you pay for the pics only if you like them. For one pic it was $250 and it went from there. If they would reduce their cost we would have bought many more! Beware the drink packages on this cruise are outrageous. Luckily ours were included but it was $900 per person for 7 days. The bar service was great though and you never had to wait for a drink. Ali at the mojito bar was awesome!! He had our drink order down by Day 2 and we only went a couple times. Overall this was an amazing trip. Next time we would pick a bigger ship but that being said I do believe being on a a smaller ship let us go into see some of the glaciers we might not have seen. The service was fantastic. Everyone was very nice and most went out of their way to make sure you had what you wanted. There were 2000 passengers and 1000 crew so you definitely felt like people were there to help you. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
This cruise was on my bucket list, with Panama canal, & a friend was interested enough to come with me. We arrived in Vancouver the evening before embarkation & overnighted in an airport hotel, as it was Canada Day we started ... Read More
This cruise was on my bucket list, with Panama canal, & a friend was interested enough to come with me. We arrived in Vancouver the evening before embarkation & overnighted in an airport hotel, as it was Canada Day we started off for the port quite early, utilising the train service to get there. The streets around the port were crowded, but there were lots of people giving directions & we quickly found where to drop off our luggage. We were pretty early for our check in slot, so we made the most of the carnival atmosphere, sporting flags & temporary (we hoped) maple leaf tattoos. Once it was time to check in we proceeded to the hall, which is where it all went a little awry. As UK passport holders we were directed to a separate queue, this was smaller than the main queue, but it appeared there was only 1 (or possible 2) counters serving us compared to a dozen or so for the main, it moved incredible slowly. Then suddenly they started sending people to all different desks & things sped up, when we got to a desk the woman asked us how long we'd been there & seemed shocked at our response, considering we were processed in less than 5 minutes, I really don't know why it all took so long & can't really understand the logic in the separation to begin with. Anyway, after that we were quite soon aboard. We decided to check if the luggage had been delivered, it had, put in the cabin, take a quick look around, then go for our 1st cocktail of the cruise & a bite to eat. Our steward was often about when we were in the corridor & was always polite & friendly, tho I'm not sure he always understood what my friend was going on about, the room was always tidy & supplies stocked up. I found nearly all the officers & crew very polite & friendly, (there was 1 guy in one of the bars who always looked a bit fed up, but maybe that was just his face), the staff in the MDRs often had a quick chat, as Europeans I think we tended to eat later than a lot of the Americans, so it wasn't as busy as earlier in the evening, & the staff in the bar we mostly frequented realised quite quickly we didn't want 1/2 an iceberg in our drinks. We only used the included restaurants, mostly Azura & Tsar, we tried O'Sheenehan for lunch one day & one evening Chin Chin, the only one to disappoint. We didn't feel the need to go to the specialist places, also my friend is a mostly vegetarian (adding fish for this holiday). We did 2 excursions via NCL & 2 with another company, plus some independently. The NCL were in Ketchican, we went to the Rainforest Sanctuary & Alaska Raptor centre, we didn't see any wildlife, a matter of luck as the group 5-10 mins behind us saw 3 bears, but it was a very informative walk thro the Tongass forest with a naturalist & at the Raptor centre we had a flight demonstration and got pretty close to a large female bald eagle, the centre cares for & rehabilitates injured, but keep some which would be unable to survive in the wild. We also did a duck tour, something I've always planned to do on the Thames, which was fun. In Juneau we did a whale watching tour on a small boat with marine biologist & another naturalist, we saw several whales including a mother & calf, plus a sealion fighting off several gulls who were trying to steal it's salmon. We also went out to Mendenhall glacier & walked the path to Nugget Falls. Our last excursion was in Skagway where we did a coach trip up thro the Canadian border to Yukon, stopping at various interesting spots, a quite relaxing trip. The only shows we didn't attend were the comedian, I find them in general very polarising, but thought all the others very good. The best was undoubtedly Le Circe Bijou, although I also really enjoyed the couple who did the dancing/acrobatic show, but I overheard a woman who thought it was rubbish, horses for courses I suppose. All in all we had a very enjoyable week on board NCL Jewel, I hadn't known what to expect, all my previous cruises having been on European lines, but I would certainly travel with them again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
All staff were very cordial and engaging., eager to assist with any of our needs. Loved visiting the ports and especially the glaciers. The ship was very clean and committed to the prevention of infection I especially loved the washy washy ... Read More
All staff were very cordial and engaging., eager to assist with any of our needs. Loved visiting the ports and especially the glaciers. The ship was very clean and committed to the prevention of infection I especially loved the washy washy station and the bathrooms were always clean The cruise line can improve on the selection of entrees offering more exquisite dining without charging an additional fee. I would have liked to see more involvement by the activity staff at the poolside it always makes for a better day when there is a band playing and games to entertain you. We loved our precruise land tour as well. This offered us a close encounter with Alaska’s greatest offerings, we were able to observe moose, brown bears, caribou, dall sheep and countless America’s national bird the bald eagle. Although we were very awe struck with Alaska, we feel the cruise line can upgrade to offer more exquisite dining especially by offering lobster tails as part of the ever changing daily menu. In conclusion we would recommend visiting our 49th state on the Jewel. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
I wanted to go to Alaska, experience wonderful and beautiful scenery, experience of a lifetime. Food was good, room with a balcony was perfect. Me and my husband do not do the nightlife, bars or lounges, but we enjoyed the trip, stayed on ... Read More
I wanted to go to Alaska, experience wonderful and beautiful scenery, experience of a lifetime. Food was good, room with a balcony was perfect. Me and my husband do not do the nightlife, bars or lounges, but we enjoyed the trip, stayed on our balcony and eat whenever we wanted. Dressed up two different nights and went to the restaurants. The bike excursion was one of the best, loved it! Train excursion was amazing, and the kayaking was an awesome experience. We went along with my sister and her husband, no children. The choice of excursions were good, and we had a really enjoyable time. Loved the balcony, that made our trip the best it could be. You need an ice cream bar, not just the dispensers with ice cream. The food was good would have liked more fish salmon etc. Boat needs to be updated, but all in all it was amazing. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Unplugged, family time together, wanted to explore Alaska with the hopes of returning on our own in future. Wonderful first cruise experience. Excursions were all booked through NCL - whale watching, Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau, ... Read More
Unplugged, family time together, wanted to explore Alaska with the hopes of returning on our own in future. Wonderful first cruise experience. Excursions were all booked through NCL - whale watching, Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau, Musher’s Camp (our favorite) and Zip-Lining In Skagway, and Lumberjack Show and Electrics Buggies in Ketchikan. Cagney’s was our favorite. Also loved The Garden Buffet and Sheehan’s Pub. Not as fond of Teppanyaki. Generally – food was good.fresh, with a variety of choices including fruit and veggies. All of our staff encounters were positive - everywhere. Hand sanitizer used everywhere. We liked the suite and thought NCL did a good job at finding space for storage throughout all spaces. Embarkations in Vancouver was well thought out and smooth, though prepare for lines. Disembarkation in Seward was managed well, too. Some cons to note: sports court was disappointing, and any outdoor activities were limited, including shuffle board, ping pong, and golfing after around 6pm. Huge checkerboard on deck, no pieces in container. Pools were ok but not used much given temperatures. Arcade premium pass is expensive – if you choose to play games without, they run about $1.50 per game, give or take. There are a limited number of games one can pla using the package. Several are still pay to play. Great entertainment. Loved the dinner and adult drink packages. Wouldn’t do soda for kids again given that ours don’t drink much, and there is complimentary lemonade and iced tea at most places. Bottled water is overpriced, and none of us got sick with drinking the water onboard. NCL needs to add specialty coffee drinks to their premium drink package like Princess. And laundry - they did offer a bundled laundry mid cruise for $20 - anything you could fit in their laundry bag. It took two days to get it back. Great first cruise - would go again if we found the right deal. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Overall, was very happy with our (my dad and I) cruise and this ship. - We enjoyed the ship over all. It was easy to get around and the signage was very helpful. It was always clean. It had just been refurbished, so while you ... Read More
Overall, was very happy with our (my dad and I) cruise and this ship. - We enjoyed the ship over all. It was easy to get around and the signage was very helpful. It was always clean. It had just been refurbished, so while you could tell it was an older ship, it was stylish and up to date. We loved that the ship was a smaller one, and I've decided I like that better than the new larger ships. We were very impressed with how close the Captain was able to get us to the glaciers. He was very good at maneuvering the ship through the ice to the glaciers and positioning the ship so everyone could see everything. The views were breathtaking and we were very pleased with this aspect of the cruise. The ship was easy to get on and off at ports. The lines always moved quickly. There was always staff to help you find where you needed to go. We were very pleased that we could keep our luggage with us the last night and take it ourselves on the final day. The one thing we did not care for was the smoking policy. Smoking was allowed in the casino, which smelled up the theatre and the lounges on either side of the casino. Smoking was also allowed at the Pit Stop on deck 13, which meant you could smell smoke all over the pool deck. I also observed people smoking on the open decks while we were docking. - For a small inside cabin, there was ample storage for two people who had severely overpacked. We did bring an extension cord (used for a CPAP) and multi-outlet adapters (didn't use.) The lamps over the beds had USB ports. Our steward, Mark, was fabulous. He made sure to say hello and chat a little every time he saw us in the hallway, was constantly asking what else we needed, and straightened our room several times a day. Our room was very clean before we got there and stayed that way throughout our trip. Our room (8531) was also VERY quiet. - We very much enjoyed the freestyle dining and the fact that food was always available somewhere on board. The food on the ship was good, not great, but good. I had expected it to be better, but it is institutional, rather bland food. The choices were ample, and we found some restaurants to be better than others. Azura was our favorite for dinner. We found the service to be lacking in O'Sheehan's. We never had to wait long in line to be seated, though seating could be tricky to find for breakfast in the Garden Cafe. We had hoped to have more regional food choices, but they did serve a delicious smoked salmon chowder on the pool deck one day, and they did bring on fresh salmon for dinner in Ketchikan. My dad was very happy with the steaks he had in the dining room. We did not try the specialty dining. That said, limited gluten-free choices were there, but not as common as I had been lead to believe by the NCL customer service staff I talked with prior to the cruise. Although the signs said gluten-free muffins were available for breakfast, the staff could never find anything but gluten-free white bread when I asked. There were no gluten-free buns for sandwiches or burgers, no gluten-free breads in the main dining rooms, and no gluten-free desserts other than ice cream or fruit. Other guests with food sensitivities were having issues with dining as well. We also found it very odd that coffee and tea were seemingly only available in the Garden Cafe during the evening, none of the lounges had it. I had been told by NCL customer service that I would get a card for a birthday cake on the last night of my cruise, but that never happened. Even if it had, I doubt that I would have been able to eat it. We had the UBP package and were happy with most of the drinks. We loved the martinis at Shakers and were very happy with the drinks out of the Spinnaker. My dad tried a bottled beer a couple of times and thought it was skunky, but he was happy drinking martinis after that. The bartenders were willing to make changes to the drinks if you asked, and I felt the drinks ran a little strong most days. - Entertainment and activities were plentiful except for the last full day at sea. The main productions were fantastic each night. We were very lucky to have the hilarious Tim Kominski as our comic. We enjoyed most of the evening lounge singers and bands. Most of the "game shows" the cruise staff did were fun. There were many options for trivia, bingo, pictionary, painting, etc... Several of them came with an extra charge. The Q & A's with the staff were all interesting. Unfortunately there weren't many enrichment activities. It would have been nice to have a few more opportunities to hear about the history of Alaska, the gold rush, and all the glaciers/wildlife we were seeing. - We did not do any excursions sponsored by the ship, as we had arranged our own. The port towns were small, but were easy to walk and felt safe, had ample shopping, and had some good restaurants. Maps were available at the visitor centers. The ports were very crowded when there were 4 or 5 ships docked at the same time. - We found the service on the ship to be phenomenal. From our wonderful steward, to serving staff who remembered us in different venues, to the effervescent cruise staff running games, to the bartenders who learned our names and the drinks we liked by day two. Everyone was friendly and willing to chat. The staff of this ship really made our trip very special. - The NCL app was very helpful. You could connect to it without purchasing the wifi package. It would allow you to see your account, book excursions, and see the activities available that day. Thank you NCL. We will definitely be back. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
Generally, overall, it was a very good experience. At the embarkation dock (after getting off the bus from Anchorage), we chose to keep our bags with us and took them to our cabins ourselves. There were no issues about that. Since ... Read More
Generally, overall, it was a very good experience. At the embarkation dock (after getting off the bus from Anchorage), we chose to keep our bags with us and took them to our cabins ourselves. There were no issues about that. Since we were cruising on a budget, we did not book any excursions and found we enjoyed everything else just fine. It is amazing what you can find! We cruised with two teens (16 years old) and our adult daughter. All were able to find something they enjoyed. The teens, however, were disappointed in the "Entourage" (the teen lounge). I think it just wasn't their speed. They enjoyed the pool, the "Card Room" and especially the karaoke nights. Everyone we came into contact with were very professional and pleasant to work with. All were very responsive to questions and requests. After boarding, we had to request that our room steward reconfigure our cabins (our needs changed after booking). They were very prompt and accommodating. The buffet was HUGE and quite tasty. I will have to admit, though, the mousse was anything but mousse. It was more like pudding with too much gelatin. Oh, well. There was plenty of other goodies! Really, the only less than optimal dining experience we had was at Cagney's. I ordered the salmon (typically very good). Unfortunately, I found it lukewarm on the edges and cold and raw in the middle. The wait staff were quick to correct the issue and bring me another plate. However, what I was brought was still the same - lukewarm, cold and raw. The waiter tried to tell me that this was the usual way it was served????? After I sent it back yet again, requesting that it be cooked longer than "usual," I received a well-done piece of salmon - hot/crispy on the outside, hot in the middle and generally dry (now not the best salmon I've had). I decided that I would eat it anyway as service was rather slow and we had already been there almost an hour, but the waiter really seemed to be trying. We were comped the plate and three desserts. Otherwise, in the food department.... if you ever went hungry on the Jewel, it was your own fault! The shows in the Stardust Theater were good, especially the comedian. He had a packed house every show. Even his "Q&A" session in the Spinnaker Lounge was standing room only and that was packed 4 and 5 rows deep! This was our 2nd cruise on NCL and we will do it again in a heartbeat! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We chose this cruise because of our budget, the free perks like 3rd and 4th passenger sail free, the smaller ship size, and the itinerary, specifically to see Glacier Bay and Hubbard Glacier. I highly recommend NCL Jewel for families ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of our budget, the free perks like 3rd and 4th passenger sail free, the smaller ship size, and the itinerary, specifically to see Glacier Bay and Hubbard Glacier. I highly recommend NCL Jewel for families with young kids. The kids center, Splash Academy, was open from 9 am until 10:30 pm (and even later for a fee) every day! We thought that the closing time would be too late for our 4 and 8 year old but they loved it so much and never wanted to leave. We gave up on 8 pm bedtimes. The staff did an awesome job with keeping the kids entertained and happy. There were theme nights, active games, silly songs and jokes, sports, prizes, and at the end of the cruise, they had the kids put on a circus show. My hubby and I really enjoyed our free time! Some of the food was just okay but some of the food was fantastic too. Garden Buffet had hits and misses but was decent overall. The kids loved the Garden Buffet. Fruit, tomatoes and salad greens were super fresh at the beginning of the cruise but started to look wilted at the end. The grilled fish, burgers, prime rib (served only the first 2 nights), raita, were good but other dishes like stir fries, fried rice, indian dishes, casseroles, and stews, basically any hot entrée with sauce weren't that good. Salads, fruit, made to order omelettes, made to order pastas, bacon, and eggs benedict were good. Desserts weren't that good. Self service coffee and espressos weren't good but passable. We had 2 really good meals at Tsar's Palace and 1 that wasn't. Desserts were good. The sirloin steak at Azura was cooked perfectly but the peppercorn sauce wasn't good. O'Sheehans burgers and fries were fine. But the nachos were terrible and the fish and chips weren't that good. We didn't try it for breakfast but wouldn't recommend it for lunch or dinner. The fee based dining at Cagneys, Le Bistro and Moderno were EXCELLENT. We ordered macaroni and cheese for my 5 year old; it's her favorite; and it was a terrible dish at all the restaurants. The worst mac and cheese ever. Even Kraft Dinner would have been better. I couldn't tell what was is in it. It was orange and looked good but it was awful, had a powdered chicken soup stock after taste. I spoke with serving staff and they agreed that it was really bad. At Tsars Palace, Azura and O'Sheehans, some of the staff were friendly, helpful and fast, even going beyond, while I felt ignored by some of the staff. For example, we didn't get any water for 15 minutes one time at Tsar's, I normally wouldn't have noticed it but we were super thirsty, and it seemed like there was confusion on who was looking after us. But one server at Tsar's would pleasantly fill my wine glass without me asking, sourced out the french baguette that my fussy 5 year old would only eat, and even offered us complimentary cappuccinos. Service at the fee based dining was wonderful. I didn't really see our room steward, although he was friendly, that much while I did see the neighboring steward often. On our first day, we noticed all these brown reddish flakes on our bed. The neighboring steward cleaned it up because our room steward was returning in the evening from his time off. The neighboring steward thought that it came from the AC/heating element. We didn't have that problem again. The main pool was salt water and pleasantly warm. We enjoyed the pool even on rainy days. The production cast shows were FANTASTIC. They are so talented! We enjoyed Velvet, Rock You Tonight, Aerial Duo and Le Cirque Bijou. On our second night, we kept hearing a consistent banging below. We were on deck 9. Someone from guest services came up and determined that because the water was so choppy, that a lifeboat on deck 8 was likely making that noise. He apologized for the noise and we said that it's no trouble and it's out of their control. Later, we heard someone working on the lifeboat below while water spray was hitting our 9th deck window! The banging stop and I felt so sorry for the person who had to work in that weather. We were lucky to not have booked any excursions in Skagway, one of the scheduled ports, because the Captain decided to stop in Haines instead, explaining that there had been a barge carrier jet fuel leak where we were supposed to berth. But then I heard all these different stories from other people, and they were angry and just wanted the truth. The bars were good. We really enjoyed the drinks from the bar in the Atrium. The bar in the Spinnaker Lounge (at the front of the ship) wasn't as good as the Atrium one. We had the best pina coladas at atrium, and mojitos at Topsiders (even better than the mojito bar). The driving range, and tennis/basketball court/soccer field were fun. Embarkation and disembarkation from all ports were efficient and smooth. Luggage management was efficient and fast. The Discovery Center in Ketchikan was fantastic and informative. Our kids earned a cool junior ranger badge there. Hubbard Glacier and Glacier Bay were awe inspiring. But it was depressing to see how much Glacier Bay has retreated and to learn from the Park Ranger that it, and other glaciers, will be gone in 20 years because of climate change. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
I booked this cruise on a whim because it had a single rate of around $700 for a week cruise and I thought that included the beverage package. After looking into it I realised that my cabin category didn’t include the drink package so ... Read More
I booked this cruise on a whim because it had a single rate of around $700 for a week cruise and I thought that included the beverage package. After looking into it I realised that my cabin category didn’t include the drink package so upgraded to that. With the new fare, the gratuities, the 20% for the drink package and the taxes, it came to over $1,400. I would have canceled except for Norwegian’s strict cancelation policy. I thought, oh well, I’ll just go. I had not been on Norwegian since the Norway almost 20 years ago and was interested to see how it was now. The extensive dry-dock done in late 2018 made the ship much more to my liking since I have mostly cruised on Celebrity. In fact, my favourite ship of all my 22 cruises was the Millennium so since the Jewel was about the same size I thought I might like it. I arrived at the port about 12:30 pm and it looked pretty crowded. I was pleased at how fast it actually went after I got in line and I was on the ship by 1 pm! My first impression was of the Crystal Atrium. Although attractive, a 2 deck high atrium is not exactly impressive and it was mobbed with people. The cabins were ready by 1:30 and when I checked out my inside cabin, 4579, it was fine, tiny, but fine. I was disappointed that I never actually met my cabin steward though. I don’t really like only having the bed as a place to sit but since I was alone in the cabin I used one as a sofa and one as a bed. As others have pointed out, the toilet is as an awkward angle which made you sit on it sideways. The shower, with a door, was probably the nicest I have ever had though. My impressions of the ship were mostly positive and I liked the decor. I found the Garden Cafe to be extremely chaotic though and I never once ate there. I did find the Great Outdoors at the back of the ship to be delightful and never had a problem getting a table and used the small buffet out there. The public rooms were attractive but I didn’t like the layout of the ship without a circular rotation possible on most decks. I found the food to be good to excellent and enjoyed 4 nights of specialty dining, which was outstanding. I thought the entertainment was of high quality too with excellent singers and dancers. I was a tad concerned that with so many having the drink package that getting a drink might be an issue. I have to say that I never once had a problem getting a drink and found the bar staff to be excellent. I didn’t do this cruise for the ports as I have sailed this same itinerary twice before already and didn’t get off the ship. I usually like to enjoy a bit of less crowded, quieter time while everyone is off on shore excursions but I was surprised at how many people didn’t get off the ship. The muster drill was the best ever and held in Le Bistro for me. No need to wear the life jackets and we could sit down through the whole thing in air-conditioning. My main complaint, which won’t affect many people, is as a smoker, they only designate a small portion of the Pit Stop for smokers. It was always mobbed but since I vape I could sit at the railing overlooking the pool which was much nicer. The only other smoking area besides the casino was on deck 7 port side outside. It was less crowded but with almost no seating. Th cruise was a party atmosphere which was fun and I met many delightful people from all over the world. I would consider cruising with Norwegian again but will probably stick with Celebrity or Royal Caribbean in the future. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We chose this cruise based on its itinerary and it was very enjoyable. It was a first cruise for us (well, I had been on a cruise 28 years ago with a girlfriend but that was a long time ago) so we were not sure how we would enjoy this type ... Read More
We chose this cruise based on its itinerary and it was very enjoyable. It was a first cruise for us (well, I had been on a cruise 28 years ago with a girlfriend but that was a long time ago) so we were not sure how we would enjoy this type of travel. We did a lot of research and it paid off (mostly). FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO SEEMED SURPRISED BY ADDITIONAL COSTS, TENDERS AND OTHER MATTERS, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE SPEND SOME TIME ON RESEARCH! For example, by reading other reviews of cruisers, we knew that getting to Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City) and back in time would be difficult because of traffic and the timing of the ship's arrival and departure, so we took the NCL excursion. We were Haven Guests and were very grateful for the extra service (such as embarkation and disembarkation priority along with a reserved area for meals at breakfast and lunch) making our trip experience much better than many others, I am sure. What we didn't fully understand, though, was that being on deck 9 instead of 14 meant that we sometimes missed the true benefits of the Haven experience (such as having a butler and concierge ready to make things easier for us). Our butler and concierge were generally MIA unless we called and they both seem surprised that we hadn't asked to have something when we thought it would just be done (they only discovered that we were first time cruisers at the end of the trip and things might have been easier if we had volunteered that up front). There were a few other blips but we figured out what we needed to do in the first few days (and I did express my concerns to them) and we did get in tune with them after that. However, if you want to experience the full benefits of the Haven, I would recommend that you find a cabin/suite on Deck 14. Our cabin was right up front and the benefits of two balconies was wonderful, allowing us to have the best of both views and, while the noise of the anchor going up and down was clearly evident, it really didn't disturb us. Also, I am very prone to motion sickness and didn't feel the least bit queasy for the entire trip. We took mostly independent tours and they were, overall, excellent. There was one dud excursion which had more to do with the lack of English by the tour guide but we did hit all the sights. The tour into Bangkok using NCL was excellent, given that the guide was herding 32 people around but I cannot recommend the tour at the end of our trip into Singapore. We took the 4 hour tour ending at the airport and it was very expensive and certainly unimpressive. Dining was very hit and miss; Chin Chin was dreadful and La Cucina wasn't far behind. I would certainly not waste my money on La Cucina! Both service and the food was way below average. The first week seemed generally off for most of the entire dining areas - it was as if the waiters did not know what they were doing or where they should be at any one time. We were left waiting for several minutes without so much as a glass of water on a number of occasions and sometimes the food was not very warm when it arrived. A couple of very nice meals were had at Cagney's and Teppanyaki (go for the show, although the food was very good) but none of the meals made me feel that I had to go back. I admit I had expected better prepared food and the quality of the raw ingredients seemed lacking sometimes. The meal at Azura was very good and I would highly recommend going to the free sit down venues over the buffet (where a couple of times when we ventured in, we were horrified by the noise and people eating right beside the food - presumably so they could go back for more immediately. The fitness facility was good although I'm sure that it would have benefitted from some extra space. The free classes were generally well attended (or, on sea days, over attended) but the paid classes were almost empty. Internet was very poor but the guy at the Internet cafe was very helpful to get the most out of it. I must admit that I didn't pay enough attention to the small print and it was annoying that the service we had only applied to one device at a time! We had one unlimited service and two 250 minute services (that came as part of our package) so it was okay but I saved any big work on my computer for our days on shore when we could get 4G wifi service. Overall, we were very happy with our first cruise with Norwegian. They do seem to have worked out most of the problems with embarkation and disembarkation and tendering (at Koh Samui, for example, the ship was using commercial tender operations along with its own lifeboats) on this particular routing. This allowed for at least triple the numbers to get on the tender and the lineups were greatly reduced. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We are two 50 something sisters on our first trip to Asia. The Jewel was perfect for us with many activities on board that appealed to each of us. One sister is a Vegan and we were introduced to our pre-order contact the first night. ... Read More
We are two 50 something sisters on our first trip to Asia. The Jewel was perfect for us with many activities on board that appealed to each of us. One sister is a Vegan and we were introduced to our pre-order contact the first night. Joy was fantastic and although he had many special diet parties on board, he took the time to customize our pre-orders. The only bad dish we had was in La Cucina and it was the risotto dish from the menu - it was so salty it was inedible. We've read the other reviews and were not dissapointed in this cruise at all. The service was fine. The shore excursions we took were fine and we took advantage of the Shore-ex credit and the beverage package. With the hot weather, we did buy a lot of bottled water - which does add up cost wise. Embarkation involved several lines, but check in with NCL went quickly. The Singapore immigration line moved at a snails pace which of course is out of NCL'[s control. We had lunch in the MDR and our room was ready at about 1:00pm. One of our bags didn't show up before dinner so I went looking for it. It was in a holding room because my contact lens liquids were thought to be cans of beer - ha! Previous Cruise Critic reviews and our roll call were both a wealth of information - so we were not surprised by the charges for the Vietnam and Cambodian visas. We chose not to get them directly from the California embassies. We also knew that Ha Long Bay was no longer a tender port because a new international pier had opened several months ago. We also knew that Koh Samui was the only tender port and that 2 other 2,000 passenger ships were in that day. When NCL cancelled the shore excursion we had booked, we found a private tour and were concerned about meeting on time. Again, Cruise Critic helped us out. We went to the Meet & Greet the day before and were informed that there would be 6 lifeboat tenders. A member from the previous cruise from Sydney asked about Latitudes assistance and the officers contacted Cruise Next staff to make it happen. We met early and this is the only reason we made our private tour and were back just before the return tender problems. The tender problems in Koh Samui were very poorly handled. When we saw local tenders and ship tenders still coming back at 6:30, we knew it was bad news. What we heard from others was terrible. Standing in that heat on a pier for 3 hours is inexcusable. As others have noted in their reviews, the Captain didn't address the issue until two nights later and basically said it was up to the port, not his fault. And that at our last port we would stay an extra hour until 9:00pm. Ridiculous. On our second Thailand shore excursion, we went to Pattaya where the main attraction is the Sanctuary of Truth. It was good, but we had to endure a local guide instead of our shore ex guide. Then we were taken to a jeweler mall to shop. This should have been disclosed. It was a complete waste of time, but was air conditioned. The shore ex manager's response was that all Thailand tours go to jewelry malls just like carpet factories in Turkey. Huh, we were on a tour in Bangkok the day before and no jewelry mall. Singapore and Ha Long Bay were the highlights of the cruise. We took the ship junk cruise excursion and thought it was a great value. We also had a fantastic local guide on the boat. The junks met up at the ship instead of on the pier. We went in the afternoon, which seemed to be a bit less hectic than what we saw in the morning. Best tip for this port, is to be up early when the ship sails through the bay - magical. As others have mentioned, the production show were great. The Thai show was good as was Frenchie Davis. Karaoke was fun the first couple of nights. The other music acts in the bars were not as good as on other NCL ships, but the show band was quite good. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
This was a couples cruise to Asia covering Singapore (2 nights Pre-cruise) Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam & Hong Kong (2 nights post cruise) as part of celebrating my retirement Positives include quality of the ship (Refurbished in ... Read More
This was a couples cruise to Asia covering Singapore (2 nights Pre-cruise) Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam & Hong Kong (2 nights post cruise) as part of celebrating my retirement Positives include quality of the ship (Refurbished in 2018), quality of the food & choice of restaurants and shows performed by the ship’s cast were of a very high standard Negatives & where NCL really need to up their game are 1. Lack of organisational skills especially on-shore excursions. We booked 2 thru NCL & both times there was considerable delays in getting bus numbers allocated & getting all guests ashore. Worse was on Koh Samui where tenders were required & NCL only used 5 to transport around 2000 people over a journey that too 20 minutes each way. No surprise that we were 3 hours delayed on leaving port that night!! One other complaint about staff were those involved in teh excursions team. It is normal that they will have local knowledge & experience of the various local ports as well as fact sheets that help guests doing their ‘own thing’. NCL staff had neither & could only provide detail on the shore excursions that they offered 2. Costs - altho NCL came in around the same package cost as other cruise lines the fact they offered extras in the form of on-board credit & internet access anything that had to be paid for on the ship was way more expensive than experienced with other cruise lines. Average cost per excursion was €99 some of which we could have done ourselves at a fraction of the cost. We were also forced to purchase a Visa for Cambodia even if we were NOT going on-shore & staying on the ship. I enquired Pre-cruise & the embassy could provide this @ €35 per person it didn’t state that we would need a visa if we were not disembarking however, NCL billed us €99 per person. Considerable admin fee in my opinion 3 altho the ship’s cast provided excellent shows the acts brought on-board were less than impressive. In fact out of the 5 acts only one, Mary Jess, provided the standard of performance experienced on other ship’s 4. The locations visited were part of the reason we booked the cruise however, was surprised that the ship docked in what can only be described as container yards or working shipyards with the majority miles from the locations that we wanted to visit. For example, in Da Nang it was a 30 minute shuttle bus transfer (@$15pp) to the town/beach & that was the best/closest. Worse was Bangkok (2.5hr drive) & Hanoi (3hr drive) Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
I chose this cruise because of its interesting itinerary visiting several countries like Cambodia and Vietnam which we had not visited in the past. After sailing on 7 previous NCL cruises, we were well used to the freestyle crushing which ... Read More
I chose this cruise because of its interesting itinerary visiting several countries like Cambodia and Vietnam which we had not visited in the past. After sailing on 7 previous NCL cruises, we were well used to the freestyle crushing which NCL is famous for. Hence had no reservations about booking the cruise on NCL Jewel. We have always liked the smaller NCL ships like Spirit, Sun, Star and Jade. The only NCL cruise which we didn't like was on the Epic and hence have resisted in booking on bigger ships. Also itineraries on bigger ships are catered for mass markets whereas the smaller ships offer very interesting itineraries sailing to ports which are not visited by bigger ships. We flew to Singapore from London via BA and stayed for 1 night at one of the riverside hotels in Singapore. We had been to Singapore a few times before hence only stayed for 1 night however if you have never been to Singapore before, I would highly recommend staying 3 to 4 nights prior to cruise to take in most of this fabulous city. On the day of the cruise we took a local taxi to the cruise terminal for only 10 Singapore dollars and were at the port just after 11am. Check in was quick however as the cruise was visiting so many different countries, everyone's passports had to be throughly checked to ensure everyone had correct visas. I had made sure we had all the visas required (only Cambodia visa required for UK citizens) however lot of people who were checking in didn't have the correct visas so were charged a huge amount by the ship to get the visas and this was even before the cruise had begun. Thus lot of people were complaining how they were charged so much money eg. Ship charged $89 for each person for Cambodia visa however I had obtained them for £30 each by visiting Cambodian embassy in London. It is the passenger's responsibility (not the cruise line's) to ensure they have the the correct visas. So please be carefully in checking if any visas required well before travelling. In this cruise, the cruise line could arrange the visas (at a much higher cost) for all countries it was sailing to which was great for those who hadn't arranged them. However for some cruises you wouldn't be allowed to board if you didn't have the correct visa. Once checked in, we queued for the immigration which took about half an hour (much lesser than my previous cruise from Singapore which had taken well over an hour in the queue). Thereafter we boarded this beautiful ship which was just refurbished a few months ago. Everything seemed new in the public areas like furniture and carpets which was great. However I was surprised to see no embarkation photos being taken. In fact we noticed that very few photos were taken either at ports, or on open decks or in dining areas. May be this is for the best as most people don't end up buying them and hence have to be discarded. We were asked to go to garden cafe for lunch as cabins were not going to be ready till 1pm. There was plenty of choice including plenty of vegetarian options. However NCL have changed their food labelling system in the garden cafe. Before, all vegetarian food had a green symbol on label and red for non veg. However now they have green symbol for cold food and red for hot food which is silly as one can see if the food is hot or cold. When I queried that with the senior staff member at the restaurant, I was told that NCL had made that change so junior staff could interact more with customers as they would have to verbally advise someone who was vegetarian regarding what food was vegetarian or not. This was silly as most staff didn't know what food item was vegetarian or not when I queried and had to check with someone else. Also they were too busy to talk to guests. NCL need to bring in another system to identify vegetarian foods in garden cafe like 'V'symbol on the labels which is what they have in menus in all other restaurants. I was also advised by the senior staff that there was a seperate vegetarian section. However I told him that the vegetarian section only had Indian options and if I wanted to try other vegetarian cuisines I had to go to other areas of buffet which didn't have correctly marked labels. Anyway there was nothing he could do as NCL head office had made that decision. Although we used garden cafe for breakfasts and lunches only we soon became used to what foods were vegetarian or not as the menu didn't change much there. Food was good and loved their Indian veggie South Indian breakfast options. Cabins were ready after 1pm as advised. We had a port side balcony cabin on level 9 towards the aft of the ship. Great place as it was close to get to restaurants and was always quieter at the back end of the ship. The cabin was well appointed with new carpets and wall paintings. The bathroom was similar in design to Jade with seperate shower and toilet with sink in middle. Seems no changes had been made there. TV was on the smaller side compared to big screen ones on newer ships. However it had a great range of movies and news channels. It had around 4 movie channels showing drama, action, comedy and family movies. Also several news channels like BBC and several American and Australian ones but no CNN. The balcony was adequate size with 2 chairs and a table. Storage area was adequate too with plenty of drawers and shelves and hanging space too. The cabin steward, Alexandro, always kept the cabin nice and tidy with lovely towel animals every evening on the bed. He knocked the door when the luggage arrived (around 2pm). We unpacked our cases straight away and hid them away under the beds so we didn't have to see them again for the next 12 days. That is the beauty of cruising, you visit fascinating places nearly every day without packing and unpacking. After the fire drill and safety briefing at 4pm, the ship soon set sail after 5pm towards Koh Samui in Thailand. Food in the main dining rooms (Tsars palace and Azura) was great with a few vegetarian options everyday. Also I had a voice message and a letter left in cabin to say that if I wasn't happy with the vegetarian selections, I could speak to maitre'd who would arrange to get any other special requests prepared. However I didn't need to as I was happy with the choices they had on main menu. We dined mainly at Azura as it had a more intimate atmosphere but also visited Tsars palace a few times. As we had 3 day dining package in addition to the drinks package included, we visited the Italian, teppanyaki and French restaurant on 3 nights. Loved the French and teppanyaki restaurants and would be happy to go back. However not happy with the Italian one as the food choices that had were already in main dining room and garden cafe menus. Also service at Italian restaurant was not up to the mark. Never tried chin chin and O'Sheehans restaurants which were the other 2 complimentary options. However visited the O'Sheehans bar regularly as got great service from barman there. The other bars that we visited were at bliss lounge, pit stop which overlooked the pool deck and bar at the back of the ship. Didn't visit most of the bars on level 6 as we used to in the Jade. Late evenings we mainly visited the spinnakers lounge as it had the dance floor and live bands playing followed by DJ. However the bar staff were not very good and often got drinks mixed up or couldn't understand what we wanted. Anyway we enjoyed our times there most evenings. The shows in the theatre were great. Loved the 3 production shows: Rock you, velvet and Cirque De Bijou were all brilliant. Singers were great and so were all the dancers and aerialists. Also loved Mary Jess, the British singer who wowed us all with her operatic singing. Also enjoyed the local Thai dancers show, the Australian tap pack show and music shows by 2 of the singers from the production shows. In fact there wasn't a single show we didn't like which was a first as usually there always a few shows we don't end up liking. The cruise director, Dan, seemed to do a good job and also sang in the bands in spinakkers lounge. However we were shocked to see him telling off some junior staff when we docked in Hong Kong that they couldn't get off the ship until all passengers were off the ship. That is no way to talk to anyone, no matter how senior you are to them. Other than that he was always approachable and friendly. The other bands who played music around the ship were not as good as what we have experienced on other ships. There were very few activities during sea days with only 1 afternoon movie on each of the 4 sea days. We were given popcorn on 2 of those days but not the other 2. Probably ran out. NCL should certainly be screening more movies especially on sea days. Also lack of daytime activities during sea days was a disgrace. Luckily we had 3 good sunny sea days so most people were busy around the pool area. However on our last overcast and cooler sea day, there seemed to be nothing much to do around the ship. The captain of the ship could hardly ever been heard or seen. In fact we didn't hear him for first 2 days. Also he wasn't present at the finale show. An apology regarding the tendering chaos at Koh Samui (more about that later) came 2 days later. In our recent cruises, we have got used to captains who have been very visible around the ship and making announcements and jokes over the tannoy system. However this captain didn't seem to enjoy interacting with his guests. The first port of call was Koh Samui. This was the only port where ship had to tender. It was a beautiful sunny day and tendering process started early in the morning. We took an excursion to see temples and views of Koh Samui which was great. As we were on the tour, we didn't need a tender ticket to get off ship so were one of the first ones to get off. Tour finished at lunch time after which we went around the town and got back to tendering area around 2.30 or so. We were one of the lucky ones to get a tender back as soon as we got there. However thereafter it seems some people were queuing up for 3 hours or so to get a tender back. We were not sure what was happening as no announcements were made at the time. We were supposed to depart by 5pm but we didn't leave till around 9pm as passengers couldn't be brought back to the ship. Later we found out that due to change in tides, they couldn't load tender boats to full capacity. However that should have been known in advance and arrangements made to bring guests back from another tendering area. Lack of information to guests on ship was frustrating and captain only apologised regarding that 2 days later which is not good. If an incident happens, passengers need to be informed as soon as possible. We were in lam Chabong (gateway to Bangkok which is 2.5 hours away and Pattaya which is an hour away) for next 2 days. On the first day we did canals and Royal barges tour in Bangkok which was excellent with a great meal at a 5 star hotel. A lovely sunny but very humid day. Got back to ship around 6pm that day. Next day was another hot and sunny day and we did an ancient city tour near Bangkok which was very interesting too. Ship departed at 4pm that day and we were back an hour before that. The problem with this port is that it's too far away from the main cities. So one couldn't enjoy the night life offered by any of these 2 cities unless you were prepared to pay extortionate taxi costs (as no shuttles were offered at night). The ship should make arrangements for this for any overnight ports so guests can enjoy nightlife at these ports. Also, if you didn't do an excursion, the costs of day time shuttles to Bangkok were quite high. I'm sure guests wouldn't have minded paying for night time shuttles rather than for taxis. So in our opinion, this was a wasted overnight port and would have rather been in a port like Halong bay overnight to enjoy the nightlife offered there as it was easy to get into town from port area. This was our last port in Thailand. Next day, we were in Cambodia (Sihanoukville). We enjoyed this port and did a lovely excursion to temples, market and beaches on a sunny and hot day. However would have loved to visit Angkor Wat if we had an overnight stop. The main reason people visit Cambodia is to see Angkor Wat. So an overnight stop here rather than in Lam Chabong would have been better. Anyway, will have to make another trip to Cambodia too see that. After a day at sea, we entered Vietnam. Our first port was Saigon however the city was over an hour away from port. It was very hot and humid again. Very busy city with lots of motorbikes everywhere. It was a long day (over 9 hours) and we visited Buddhist pagoda, market, notre dam cathedral, presidential palace, lacquer showroom and were given 1.5 hours free time in between. No lunch was included. In fact not even a bottle of water was provided on this long day. Very difficult to cross busy roads in this city as hardly any pedestrian lights and no one pays attention to zebra crossings. Good to see this city once but would never go back there again. We had another sea day and then visited chan May in Vietnam where we did an excursion to see Da nang and marble beach. Had a good day sightseeing, visiting a museum, temple, da nang beach and a marble showroom but didn't actually see marble beach as it was a private beach for the 5 star hotels there. So not sure why the excursion had marble beach in its title. However we enjoyed the day which was once again hot and humid. The last stop in Vietnam was Ha long bay which was the highlight of this cruise. It was a misty day but luckily no rain which was forecast. We did a junk boat cruise around the islands and visited a cave which was very interesting. In the afternoon we walked to a local theme park and went on some really good roller coasters there. Surprised that the entry free to theme park including unlimited rides was only US $2 each. However when we tried to walk around the town area, we were hassled by guys on motorbikes trying to sell you stuff. So we returned back earlier. After another day at sea, we docked in Hong Kong. Debarkation was smooth on ship's part. However after a smooth immigration, the queue to get out of baggage area was long as there was not enough ground transportation for everyone as 2 ships were disembarking at same time. For Hong Kong to have such a nice new terminal and not have enough ground transportation for 2 ships, was a surprise. Hopefully it was a one off situation and doesn't happen regularly. We were out of the baggage area by 10.15 or so. We took a MTR tube to Hong Kong station which has down town facilities to check in luggage for certain flights. We got our boarding passes and then went to explore the beautiful city before returning back at night to take train to airport. All went very smoothly with no hiccups and we arrived back to London next day morning. On the whole I would highly recommend this cruise to anyone wanting to see highlights of Far East countries like Vietnam without any hardship involved. The itinerary was great but if they make minor changes in future like having overnight stop in Cambodia or Ha long bay, it would only make it better. The ship was great and I would give 4.5 stars for the cruising experience. Definitely one of our best cruises ever. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
The ship was just recently renovated and everything was beautiful and clean. The cabin was adequate in size (we had an inside). Dining at the buffet was outstanding. Dining in the restaurants was sometimes not good. Chicken was dry and ... Read More
The ship was just recently renovated and everything was beautiful and clean. The cabin was adequate in size (we had an inside). Dining at the buffet was outstanding. Dining in the restaurants was sometimes not good. Chicken was dry and fish overcooked. The desserts were superb.. The entertainment was varied and good, however the daytime activities such as the lectures were boring and badly presented. The speaker had most of us dozing. The best part was the itinerary. The itinerary was exactly what we wanted. Starting in Sydney provided us with an opportunity to visit this lovely city. Koalas, wallabys, kangaroo, Komodo dragons were all on our list and we saw plenty of them. Hunter Valley was a little disappointing as we did not actually visit the vineyard itself. The wines we also not to our liking. However the cheeses were great! We were also disappointed in the Kuranda ship excursion as we had to pay extra for the butterfly sanctuary as well as the koala sanctuary. Then it rained and the skyrail which was the whole reason for being there was closed. Our snorkeling experience in the Great Barrier Reef and in the Whitsundays and also at Pink Beach near Komodo was wonderful. We organized our own excursions as the ones on the ship were too expensive. Indonesia-Komodo, Bali, & Semarang were exceptional. Lush foliage, monkey forest, batik, gold, silver, temples & lewak coffee filed all of our senses.Our final destination was Singapore. What a city! This was indeed a fabulous itinerary. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
I chose this cruise because of the private watercolor class which was offered to me on full cruising days through Art in the Mountains. Because of that class, I was busy on all of the cruising days. We came early to Sydney and stayed a ... Read More
I chose this cruise because of the private watercolor class which was offered to me on full cruising days through Art in the Mountains. Because of that class, I was busy on all of the cruising days. We came early to Sydney and stayed a couple more days after leaving the ship. This were great days of exploring the city and learning about Australia's history. I felt like the excursions were expensive for what we got. And that the descriptions of the excursions were not always accurate or maybe a little misleading. This was disappointing. Additionally, the descriptions of next day locations did not always appear accurate, ie. distances to a specific site which needed a car, when people could walk without difficulty; car needed when public buses were available; cycling along path, when actually frequently along traffic. Big problem between what we found on line and what excursion staff told us, who did clearly not have any personal experience or knowledge of the excursion. Quite frustrating. We also did not get any of our boarding paper work before leaving home. It was a mess!!! Were it not for a well versed hotel desk clerk, we would have not had any of the things we needed including suitcase tags, etc. Your communication was not good. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
Norwegian jewel ,January 5/1/19 very enjoyable for first time traveling on norweigan line ,except for our cabin "HORRIBLE " We visited Noumea,isle of pine ,lifou,cairns ,Airlie beach ,and Brisbane ,my favorite would have to be ... Read More
Norwegian jewel ,January 5/1/19 very enjoyable for first time traveling on norweigan line ,except for our cabin "HORRIBLE " We visited Noumea,isle of pine ,lifou,cairns ,Airlie beach ,and Brisbane ,my favorite would have to be isle of pines ,such a pretty place and snorkeling was fantastic.Most staff were great no problems at all ,except for customer service most were not that approachable the rest were pretty friendly .Food in all area i found nothing to fault and had a good variety ,entertainment shows were fantastic lots of different shows to see.. couple of entertainers were a little boring ,others were good ,facility clean and tidy ,most excursions were as usual expensive and found similar tours much cheaper offboard We had a free drink package ,this made for a pleasant trip as expenses were cut massively what a big saving , we still had to pay for water and coffee as these weren't included, water was around $74 AU for 12x 1Lt water .my experience with our room was the most disappointed part of our trip very sleep deprived ,otherwise we loved it. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Newly refurbished NCL Jewel is a great ship, aside from the cabin's bathroom, the whole ship feels really new and fresh, doesn't seem like a 13 year old ship at all. Service and dining was nothing impressive, but it wasn't ... Read More
Newly refurbished NCL Jewel is a great ship, aside from the cabin's bathroom, the whole ship feels really new and fresh, doesn't seem like a 13 year old ship at all. Service and dining was nothing impressive, but it wasn't too bad. Entertainment was some of the best I have ever seen! Embarkation was pretty average, nothing like the smooth and amazing experience I had on RCI but it was okay. Lines were long but without assigned boarding times, that's what you should be expecting. It was annoying they didn't have a hole punched in the cruise card and we had to go to guest service to get it punched. All the public spaces look pretty much new, no complain there at all. The decor was very much to my liking, the Jewel is a beautiful ship. Some passageways is a touch too narrow for my liking especially after evening shows, but it wasn't terrible. There is enough seating everywhere around the ship so that's excellent. Dining was so so at the start but improved over the cruise, maybe I got better luck later on and made better choices? Had a few really really good dishes that I actually ordered another plate of it. The buffet doesn't have a ton of differences throughout the whole cruise. All the food is very american, depending on your taste that might or might not be a bad thing. Entertainment, shows and activities were all great. Sadly none of the poolside activities ended up happening because of the weather, but the other activities were excellent. The evening production shows were amount the best I have seen. Very impressive with them, but the non-production show like the "magic" show and music show were underwhelming, I recommend skipping them. Service were fine. Didn't feel like anyone tried very hard but they all did their job reasonably well. Overall it was a nice cruise, wasn't blown away, but it was nice enough for me to consider NCL again. Read Less
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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