1. Home
  2. Cruise Reviews
  3. Norwegian Jewel
Norwegian Jewel departing Sydney on December 1st 2018 to New Zealand for 12 nights. My husband and I booked only 6 weeks prior to the departure date and managed to get a great deal on a mini-suite. The ship had been in dry dock immediately prior to our cruise so everything was fresh and clean. Embarkation - the embarkation and disembarkation processes were extremely quick and painless. Dining - Norwegian does Freestyle Dining which means you can really choose when and where you want to have dinner. For complementary dining, there are 2 main dining rooms - Azura and Tsar's Palace, a chinese restaurant called Chin Chin, an Irish pub called O'Sheehan's (get it? O'Sheehan's! O-ceans!! Hmmm...my husband didn't get it either...) and of course the buffet in the Garden Cafe. For lunch options, you can also go to the Great Outdoors or the Pool Deck. Azura and Tsar's have the same menu and share a massive galley that runs between them on deck 6 - quite impressive. We preferred Tsars - bigger, airier, more atmosphere, lovely views. It's also nice to go there for a more formal breakfast as a change from the buffet. We were not impressed with Chin Chin at all and wondered how it rated with the many asian passengers on board. O'Sheehan's had a small but impressive menu and was a nice change from the more formal dining. The Garden Cafe buffet is well presented with great varieties of food, however we only ate there for breakfast and lunch. As well as the complementary dining options, there are several a la carte or cover fee restaurants to choose from. The prices are very reasonable and you can also buy dining packages from the NCL website which are very worthwhile. We bought a 3 restaurant package and went to Cagney's - a steak house, Le Bistro - french, and Teppenyaki - japanese. We were also given an extra dinner by guest services and chose La Cucina - Italian. There is also Moderna - brazilian and a sushi restaurant. Cagney's was ok - it was the first night and perhaps we chose the wrong dishes. I was a little underwhelmed. Le Bistro gets our vote for the best meal of the cruise. Rack of lamb was divine! As was the creme brulee. The teppenyaki experience is a must and the food is plentiful and delicious. A close 2nd to Le Bistro. La Cucina was disappointing but again, it may have been due to my selection. I must also say that I am gluten and dairy free. Once that was made clear, a food allergies waitress visited me after every meal to check how the meal was and to bring the next night's menu so I could pre-order. As I had made bookings at all the restaurants online before I left (which are changeable if you want), she knew where I was going to be each night. Having a special creme brulee made with soy milk just for me was a real treat and I requested it most nights! Now, where's that gym.... We didn't buy a drinks package as we are not huge drinkers but on the 1st night we ordered a bottle of wine. After the waitress brought it to us and charged it to our room, she told us about the wine packages available. We decided to get a 4 bottle package for $88 + 20%. I told her that I wanted the 1st bottle of the 4 to be the one she had already served. She was not happy about it and did let us know that it was going to be a real hassle doing that. I just smiled and said "well that's great. I don't mind waiting while you fix it up". To her credit she did refund the bottle and incorporate it into the package. BTW the bottle we ordered retails in Australia for about AU$25. The single bottle price including gratuity was US$42 - that's about AU$58. Nice markup! The cruise director and his team work hard and are friendly and accommodating. Sometimes I found their exuberance a little overbearing but on the whole they did a great job. I attended a couple of the various trivia sessions, bingo and even checked out "Bandaoke" - like karaoke but with a real band. The Stardust theatre is beautiful and seats probably 1000. The production team consists of 4 singers, 8 dancers, 4 aerialists and a guest singer who is in the 1st production show then does her own show. Although she has a tremendous voice, her show was the weakest. She unfortunately had some technical issues that she did not handle gracefully and the rest of the show fell apart as it wasn't very structured in the first place. To be honest I found she was also a bit loud and annoying around the ship, especially when we were trying to enjoy the peaceful tranquility of the Milford Sound! The 3 production shows were top class. The aerialists also have their own show which is stunning. The guest entertainers were not bad - some better than others. They change all the time so I won't critique them personally. In bars around the ship were a duo called Spoken Two - their repertoire changed impressively every night, a solo female singer/guitarist, a solo male singer/pianist, and a Filipino pop band called Prism. We didn't hear too much of these performers except when we were in transit from one end to the other but they all sounded good and were well received. The show band also played other gigs besides the production shows and did a great job. The service staff are mainly from the Phillipines along with others from India and various South American or Caribbean countries. All were extremely friendly and willing to help. We did not book any shore excursions as we find them too expensive and would rather explore places on our own. This was our 2nd cruise to NZ in as many years, with the last cruise being on Celebrity Solstice. It's hard not to compare, and although I enjoyed this cruise very much, I would give the gong to Solstice for many reasons. The main reason is the outdoor layout - there were no lounges in the shade areas. There were all in the sun or in quite exposed and windy areas and the only seating in the shade were tables and chairs. Consequently I tended to stay in our cabin and used our balcony more. I would have gone to the Spinnaker lounge more but there were often activities on that were loud and not conducive to reading and relaxing - trivia, dance classes, bingo etc. There is a games/card room that was well occupied and also a library. The library was ok - not a cosy nook, just a room with books and chairs really. If the price is right, I would definitely travel on Norwegian Jewel again.

NEW DECOR AND PRODUCTION SHOWS MAKE THIS SHIP A REAL GEM!!

Norwegian Jewel Cruise Review by rubyjack67

6 people found this helpful
Trip Details
Norwegian Jewel departing Sydney on December 1st 2018 to New Zealand for 12 nights. My husband and I booked only 6 weeks prior to the departure date and managed to get a great deal on a mini-suite. The ship had been in dry dock immediately prior to our cruise so everything was fresh and clean.

Embarkation - the embarkation and disembarkation processes were extremely quick and painless.

Dining - Norwegian does Freestyle Dining which means you can really choose when and where you want to have dinner. For complementary dining, there are 2 main dining rooms - Azura and Tsar's Palace, a chinese restaurant called Chin Chin, an Irish pub called O'Sheehan's (get it? O'Sheehan's! O-ceans!! Hmmm...my husband didn't get it either...)

and of course the buffet in the Garden Cafe. For lunch options, you can also go to the Great Outdoors or the Pool Deck. Azura and Tsar's have the same menu and share a massive galley that runs between them on deck 6 - quite impressive. We preferred Tsars - bigger, airier, more atmosphere, lovely views. It's also nice to go there for a more formal breakfast as a change from the buffet. We were not impressed with Chin Chin at all and wondered how it rated with the many asian passengers on board. O'Sheehan's had a small but impressive menu and was a nice change from the more formal dining. The Garden Cafe buffet is well presented with great varieties of food, however we only ate there for breakfast and lunch.

As well as the complementary dining options, there are several a la carte or cover fee restaurants to choose from. The prices are very reasonable and you can also buy dining packages from the NCL website which are very worthwhile. We bought a 3 restaurant package and went to Cagney's - a steak house, Le Bistro - french, and Teppenyaki - japanese. We were also given an extra dinner by guest services and chose La Cucina - Italian. There is also Moderna - brazilian and a sushi restaurant.

Cagney's was ok - it was the first night and perhaps we chose the wrong dishes. I was a little underwhelmed.

Le Bistro gets our vote for the best meal of the cruise. Rack of lamb was divine! As was the creme brulee.

The teppenyaki experience is a must and the food is plentiful and delicious. A close 2nd to Le Bistro.

La Cucina was disappointing but again, it may have been due to my selection.

I must also say that I am gluten and dairy free. Once that was made clear, a food allergies waitress visited me after every meal to check how the meal was and to bring the next night's menu so I could pre-order. As I had made bookings at all the restaurants online before I left (which are changeable if you want), she knew where I was going to be each night. Having a special creme brulee made with soy milk just for me was a real treat and I requested it most nights! Now, where's that gym....

We didn't buy a drinks package as we are not huge drinkers but on the 1st night we ordered a bottle of wine. After the waitress brought it to us and charged it to our room, she told us about the wine packages available. We decided to get a 4 bottle package for $88 + 20%. I told her that I wanted the 1st bottle of the 4 to be the one she had already served. She was not happy about it and did let us know that it was going to be a real hassle doing that. I just smiled and said "well that's great. I don't mind waiting while you fix it up". To her credit she did refund the bottle and incorporate it into the package. BTW the bottle we ordered retails in Australia for about AU$25. The single bottle price including gratuity was US$42 - that's about AU$58. Nice markup!

The cruise director and his team work hard and are friendly and accommodating. Sometimes I found their exuberance a little overbearing but on the whole they did a great job. I attended a couple of the various trivia sessions, bingo and even checked out "Bandaoke" - like karaoke but with a real band.

The Stardust theatre is beautiful and seats probably 1000. The production team consists of 4 singers, 8 dancers, 4 aerialists and a guest singer who is in the 1st production show then does her own show. Although she has a tremendous voice, her show was the weakest. She unfortunately had some technical issues that she did not handle gracefully and the rest of the show fell apart as it wasn't very structured in the first place. To be honest I found she was also a bit loud and annoying around the ship, especially when we were trying to enjoy the peaceful tranquility of the Milford Sound! The 3 production shows were top class. The aerialists also have their own show which is stunning. The guest entertainers were not bad - some better than others. They change all the time so I won't critique them personally.

In bars around the ship were a duo called Spoken Two - their repertoire changed impressively every night, a solo female singer/guitarist, a solo male singer/pianist, and a Filipino pop band called Prism. We didn't hear too much of these performers except when we were in transit from one end to the other but they all sounded good and were well received. The show band also played other gigs besides the production shows and did a great job.

The service staff are mainly from the Phillipines along with others from India and various South American or Caribbean countries. All were extremely friendly and willing to help.

We did not book any shore excursions as we find them too expensive and would rather explore places on our own.

This was our 2nd cruise to NZ in as many years, with the last cruise being on Celebrity Solstice. It's hard not to compare, and although I enjoyed this cruise very much, I would give the gong to Solstice for many reasons. The main reason is the outdoor layout - there were no lounges in the shade areas. There were all in the sun or in quite exposed and windy areas and the only seating in the shade were tables and chairs. Consequently I tended to stay in our cabin and used our balcony more. I would have gone to the Spinnaker lounge more but there were often activities on that were loud and not conducive to reading and relaxing - trivia, dance classes, bingo etc. There is a games/card room that was well occupied and also a library. The library was ok - not a cosy nook, just a room with books and chairs really. If the price is right, I would definitely travel on Norwegian Jewel again.
rubyjack67’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Service
Onboard Experience
Free Price Drop Alerts
Get Norwegian Jewel price drops
250,000+ people have entered their email

Cabin Review

Mid-Ship Mini-Suite with Balcony
Cabin MA 11538
Our suite number was 11538 - 11 is so high up and on rockier nights it seemed to creak and groan more than a lower floor, but we enjoyed being up the top. The only downside was being directly under the sun deck and the noise of lounges being dragged early in the morning was noticeable but not overly annoying. I posted a video tour of the cabin on youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=afUS6ZxsLzc
The cabin was refitted just before our cruise. Unfortunately we had a problem with water seeping from the shower through to the main cabin, soaking the carpet. Guest services gave us another room for the night while they dried the carpet and the plumbing was fixed while we were out the next day. They compensated us with a bottle of wine, a cheese platter and a complementary dinner at a restaurant of our choice. It happened again mildly a few days later so we got another cheese platter and bottle of wine. It was fixed promptly and we weren't really inconvenienced by it. Our bed was ok - my preference would be for a firmer mattress - and mattress protectors!!!! Also the pillows were really crappy. I slept with one of the cushions instead. There are 2 airconditioners with separate temperature controllers. A big flat screen TV is in front of the couch which means if you're watching TV in bed, the person furthest away is in an awkward viewing position. We took some movies on a USB and they were able to play through the TV - mp4 format only. The ship has 4 movie channels - action, drama, comedy and family - as well as a tv show channel and various news shows. And guess what? The movies are all free!!! Ask guest services for a programme guide and have a pyjama day! The movies are mostly recent movies that have come onto dvd or foxtel rental. There are only a couple of power outlets in the room but there are 2 USB charging points by the TV and at the base of the bedside lamps. A really good bonus was a little espresso machine that boiled water instantly so you can make your own tea and coffee without calling room service or going out. Supplies provided. There is a stocked mini bar and also a safe. Lots of storage space. Nice furnishings (now) although I didn't like the artwork in our room (or really any of the artwork around the ship!!) Except for the leak the bathroom was great. Soap and shampoo are in dispensers on the wall and there are plenty of towels. Did I mention there is a bath? Having a bath at sea was a fun indulgence!!! I indulged 4 times! Our cabin attendant was Gerald who is nearly 40 but looks 25. He is Filipino and very lovely. A good indication of what the working conditions are like is finding out how long some people have worked on the same ship or for the same company. Gerald has been with Norwegian on 2 different ships for 10 years and he's still smiling! This is a lovely room but except for the bath is not really worth the extra money compared to a balcony room. It's not that much bigger and doesn't come with extra perks. We only booked this because the balconies were sold out by the time we booked.
Deck 11 Inside Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews