Great Aus/NZ cruise

Norwegian Jewel Cruise Review to South Pacific - Australia

Cruises: 7+ cruises
Review: 1
Helpful Votes: 19

Overall rating:

3.9 out of 5
Norwegian Jewel

14 Night Australia & New Zealand (Sydney Roundtrip)

Sail date: February 14, 2020

Ship: Norwegian Jewel

Cabin type: Oceanview

Traveled as: Couple

Reviewed: 1 year ago

Review summary

Ship decor: good Oceanview Stateroom (5094): modest size no chairs, good cupboards, constant machinery noise (24 hours), then maintenance noise during the day. The noise did not abate for the entirety of the cruise and is a major issue for the room. The bathroom has 3 sections (toilet, basin, shower) which is a nice idea but in reality is really small and only just works; I can see why it would be unsuitable for a team of travelling Sumo wrestlers... The toilet paper seems to be single ply (but wrapper says dual), leaning toward fine sandpaper. Restaurants and Bars: Importantly, "washy, washy" was enforced. There was a heavy concentration on making sure sanitisation was carried out. Compliments to ship for this. Tsars - good wine waiter (Heidi), else rather not. Food choice so-so. Found chicken really dry and pad thai spicy, but bland and little warning of heat. Azure - less formal than Tsars, same menu. Food same quality as Tsars. Both not up to hype. Food improved over time. Best meal was lamb shank with rosemary potato and mint jelly, whilst paella was also a stand out; unfortunately prepared on the same night. O'Sheehans Irish Pub: Maitre D initially not friendly and tended to ignore customer requests; I felt we were somehow naughty, as we were often put at a little round table in line with the pathway even though other better placed and protected seating was available. Patricia (wait staff) is really excellent. Pub grub with good choices. Great burgers and wings. Hot dogs not bad. Place of choice for breakfast as reasonable choice and no buffet queues. Garden Court Buffet: big choice, but much of food is reasonable quality at best. Ice cream here (bowls, cones). Typical issues with seating on large buffet. Great Outdoors: make your own burgers and dogs. Prefer O'Sheehans. Dufry Shops: good location, but tired. Bliss: nice layout in area, but too open. Magnum: good "sunken lounge" environment. Wait staff great. Includes Martini and Cocktail bar. Great way to end the night. Spinnaker Lounge: great spot to watch the seas go by whilst under cover and relaxing in lounges. Entertainment hotspot. Good spot. Stardust Theatre: tiered seating and tired decor. Seats worn, no room for drinks or anything. Not good on big audience occasions. Also spot for releasing shore excursions. Urk. Atrium Cafe: Coffee and Chocolate- Starbucks. Has steps up to O'Sheehans, if not blocked off for entertainers. The Asian complimentary eatery Chin Chin is popular, although its menu is small. Unless there early, expect to wait. Food is reasonable. Pool deck is an open area with a reasonable sized pool there are 4 hot tubs. On this deck are 2 eateries and bars, Topsiders on the pool deck and The Pit Stop pool observation deck (mostly for smokers). There are several eateries at which payment is required including French, Italian, Teppanyake, Brazilian, Sushi and a Steakhouse. Not tried. The Jewel Casino allows smoking. There is a cigar room, The Humidor, which was pretty well closed off from the non smoking environment. There were some rough seas, like a washing machine with 4.5 metre waves. The ship handled this well, although I think many pax were seasick. Activities: Dance lessons include 70's dancing including 90's music, although Earth Wind and Fire and Bee Gees made an appearance. Party line dancing kicked off with belly dancing music. No instruction, other than "follow me"... great when your back gets turned. Kudos to those that picked it up. Platinum Band getting funky used as the base for both line dance and 70's lessons. Go figure. Popular was the faux poker tournament. Had no need to know how to play. Excursions: Excursion staff did best to ensure orderly departure for shore trips. Burnie coastline tour had good sights, but major problems with commentary as microphone was malfunctioning. Very disappointing. Melbourne Puffing Billy trip had similar issues with equipment. Also, commentary was quite biased with a definite right leaning viewpoint. Platform crowd management abysmal, but deference given to volunteer resourcing who tried in large crowd. Guides called tours by official tour group name, rather than by relation to cruise ship name confusing many. Melbourne sights good, but as with Burnie and again with Wellington, much of the stop time was around war memorials. Surely there are other attractions with cafes and rest rooms? On this day, there was a service at the site, limiting access to detailed displays. May be a good place but service combined with poor weather detracted. Personal tour in Dunedin went like clockwork. Could not have organised better. Akaroa was from my perspective without need of formal tour. Walking at own pace on a glorious day was the best. Wellington tour with Gregory was quite good. Local person with local commentary provided best organised ships excursion. As mentioned above, much time devoted to war memorial, but the park and memorial sites are very, very good. One to put on your list for next time. Rose garden was great area too, whilst the cable car was disappointing with very crowded carriages preventing photography and splitting tour.


3 out of 5
It took a while to get on board, but once there, all good.

Ship experiences

Food and Dining

3 out of 5
MDR's were not quite there with food quality. Chicken was often dry and other dishes were bulked up with pasta. O'Sheehan's was the pick.

Onboard Activities

4 out of 5
Always plenty to do, however, the dance lessons were managed by watching rather than watch and follow instruction.


4 out of 5
There were a couple of main shows that were quite good. There were also visiting artists that were popular. The main theatre is a bit tired however, and was uncomfortable. There was no place for drinks an armrests, which were quite narrow, making it a "cosy" seating arrangement (I am 90kg and it was too close).

Children's Programs

We took no children. Additionally, there were only 13 children on the cruise.

Service and Staff

4 out of 5
In the main all service was provided with a smile and genuine warmth. There were a couply of grumpy moments, but overall excellent.

Ship Quality

5 out of 5
Ship was well designed and the decor was good. Cleanliness was paramount with stewards continually washing down aisles, elevators and stairwells. "Washy, washy" was enforced and every announcement was ended with a reminder to wash hands.

Cabin / Stateroom

3 out of 5
The cabin was a GTY Oceanview. There was plant noise outside 24hrs a day. The idea to segregate the bathroom into 3 sections was good, however, in practical terms it was tight. The bed extended under the dresser, making it really easy to bang your knees. The drop down bed impeded the side opposite the dresser, but not quite as badly. I had need to run my finger on the floor just under the bed to find a dropped clip and when I lifted it, there was black residue on my finger and under the nail. Plenty of cupboard / drawer space and hangers. Fridge was cold. Power options, including 2 USB points were great.

Ship tip

To avoid seating issues at the buffet, go to O'Sheehan's for breakfast and lunch.

Ports of call

Sydney, Australia

5 out of 5
First time to overnight in Sydney and it was great. Got some great night time shots for memories.

Burnie, Tasmania, Australia

3 out of 5
Burnie is a regional area and this was obvious. It is a nice place to visit, but the experience was disappointing as the equipment on the tour bus was malfunctioning.

Melbourne, Australia

4 out of 5
Great place, with many sights, however, commentary on excursion should not have had any political bias. When visiting the Cenotaph there was a function in progress and it impacted that visit by curbing space to explore. Weather was terrible as well, so that made outside wandering a bad choice.

Cruise Doubtful Sound

5 out of 5
Love these locations for the stark visual scenery.

Cruise Dusky Sound

5 out of 5
Love these locations for the stark visual scenery.

Cruise Milford Sound

5 out of 5
Love these locations for the stark visual scenery.

Port Chalmers (Dunedin), New Zealand

4 out of 5
This tour brought back my original memories of Dunedin. Our previous cruise visit left a poor memory with us.

Akaroa, New Zealand

5 out of 5
Akaroa is a really great treasure to see. If you get the chance, put it on your list.

Wellington, New Zealand

4 out of 5
War memorial is a great place to visit. The memorials are really well designed and show a great deal of thought was put into its creation. Cable car was overcrowded and not a great experience. Give me the San Francisco version any day.


4 out of 5
We self disembarked. Whilst it took a convoluted path around the ship, the line moved pretty well and the process was completed probably in 45 minutes.

Traveler Photos

Heading out of port. Akaroa Milford Sound Overnight in Sydney Port Chalmers, Dunedin Another in ditch At sea in ditch. Melbourne overnight Embarkation evening Debarkation day Jewel @ OPT
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