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Everything posted by MikeC1610

  1. That's good news. A couple of waterslides would be great. I would like to see them get rid of the up-market shops on the Royal Promenade and replace them with some nice bars, cafes and/or places to eat. I hardly ever saw anyone in those shops. They may be fine on an up-market cruise line but IMO they are out of place on a Royal Caribbean ship. The Cafe Promenade on the Voyager is awful. Too small, dark and dingy. That place is in desperate need of a make-over. I would gut the place and change it to a new food/drink venue.
  2. Whilst that would be MASSIVE News I doubt it would be the deployment of an Oasis Class Ship. I don't think any ports in Australia/NZ would be big enough to handle a ship of that size. After reading it again I think they might be deploying Adventure of the Seas to Aust/NZ. If I'm right I think that ship was recently refurbished?
  3. Thank you so much Papa B for giving your time and documenting your Hawaii/POA experience. It really does give a lot of clarity in regard to what to expect, particularly on the POA. Four or Five days in Waikiki followed by the POA has been on our bucket list for a few years now. As you commented, it is quite an expensive cruise (works out to be about $500 AUD per day for us Aussies) so we have to weigh up whether we do the POA for 7 nights or another ship locally for 14-18 nights for the same cost with no 10 hour flight each way to contend with. Your review has certainly tipped the scales in favour of the POA option. Thanks Again.
  4. Another Tip Try to avoid booking an interconnecting room. We had one in a balcony cabin on Deck 10 on the Jewel and could hear the people in the cabin next door. The seal on the interconnecting doors is not very good and therefore you hear the people in the adjoining cabin when they are talking or worse you can hear their TV very clearly as most people tend to have the volume up way too loud. We never heard any noise from the people on the other side which was not interconnecting.
  5. I wouldn't be worrying too much about how much room the sofa bed takes up when fully extended. You can easily squeeze between it and the TV/Desk setup to get out onto the balcony. The problem with the sofa bed is that it is like sleeping on a park bench. We just got off the Jewel and my 8 year old daughter required 2 foam mattress toppers to make it half comfortable. The first thing you should be doing when your room steward introduces him/herself is request 2 foam mattress toppers. Have a great cruise.
  6. Great advice. We stayed in Cabin 10556 on the Jewel which is a connecting cabin. We had an elderly Asian couple next to us that had to shout at each other at 6am each morning when they would get out of bed. We could hear them like they were in our cabin. Would never ever get an interconnecting cabin again. You definitely live and learn!
  7. Get yourself down to the Cavern Club about an hour and a half before the advertised show time, grab a seat, relax and have a few drinks and before you know it the Epic Beatles will be on. That was our routine and we never had a problem getting a seat. The Epic Beatles are brilliant as are 4 Blue, the other band that play the Cavern Club on a regular basis. Both are not to be missed.
  8. Have to say that I agree that prices have increased. We paid $4900 total for 3 people for a 13 night cruise on the Norwegian Jewel in January this year. That was in a regular balcony cabin (deck 10) and included the drinks package for 2, $100 OBC, Unlimited free WiFi and 250 mins free ship to shore phone calls. We thought it was a great deal. We loved the cruise so much we decided we would like to go back on the Jewel next January from Sydney to NZ. For a 10 night cruise in the same category balcony cabin with similar free at see inclusions it is going to cost us just over $8000. That is an increase of approx $3100 or 63% for a cruise that is 3 nights less than what we paid $4900 for in January this year. We found a Celebrity cruise on the Solstice to the South Pacific at the same time for the same number of nights (10) in a balcony cabin with a drinks package and $300 OBC for $6800 (over $1200) cheaper than the Norwegian Jewel), so we booked it with a $60 deposit special. We love the Jewel but cannot justify paying $1200 more than what Celebrity are offering for a cruise of the same number of nights in a similar cabin category with similar inclusions albeit we reckon the Norwegian drinks package is superior to the Celebrity one but not worth paying $1200 more for. My 2c worth.
  9. We recently were on the Norwegian Jewel and our 9 year old daughter required 2 mattress toppers as she was sleeping on the convertible sofa bed. The "mattresses" on those things are rock hard. I'm stuffed how they expect that anyone could sleep on those without at least 2 mattress toppers. You should request 2 toppers as soon as you get onboard. We were told that they only have a limited number of mattress toppers and once they are gone that's it. Get in early to ensure you get yours.
  10. We really enjoyed Chin Chin and went there twice on our 13 night cruise. The menu is quite limited however the food is very good. We loved the Salt and Pepper calamari and the Pot Stickers. Chin Chin was very popular and it was not uncommon to have to wait up to an hour for a table. Best to get there early, get a buzzer and go and have a drink at the Champagne bar or Maltings while you wait. Never noticed any special buffets in Moderno on our Jewel cruise. Moderno is used by the Haven guests for breakfast and lunch.
  11. Thanks I was on the Epic last April and thought that 4 Blue were incredible. I had forgotten the bands name until I read your review. I'm pretty sure it was 4 Blue. Were they a group of Columbian guys with a great guitarist/singer that plays long guitar lead breaks and walks out into the crowd? If that was them they were very versatile and could play anything from Frank Sinatra to Metallica and really hit the spot. I spent many nights in the Cavern Club listening to them and drinking way too many Guiness'.
  12. We went on the Epic back in April last year and enjoyed the cruise. We've been on about 30 cruises and have enjoyed them all, obviously some more than others. We have also been on the Norwegian Pearl and Jewel and feel these 2 ships win hands down when compared to the Epic. The Epic is a very nice ship, however I would have to say that it is not one of our favourite ships for a few reasons. Like many we did not like the cabin design. We had a normal balcony cabin and there were 3 of us in the cabin. The curved design just does not work. The 3rd bed, which is the sofa is an awful design and is as hard as a rock. The bathroom layout is also not very functional and the basin and mirror next to the bed makes it difficult to move from one end of the cabin to the other if someone is using the mirror to get ready for dinner etc. The fact that you have to book all the shows on Epic is not something we like. The Theatre on the Epic is very small for a ship that size and unless you book early you miss out. The Epic also feels like a very "enclosed" ship. It has no areas like the Great Outdoors or the Spinnaker Lounge on the Jewel Class ships where you can sit and look out at the sea. The buffet is also a strange design and very spread out unlike the Jewel which has food stations close to each other. The Epic also felt a very crowded ship where you have to line up for just about everything, unlike the Pearl and Jewel where it rarely felt crowded. We felt that the pool deck is too small for a ship the size of Epic. It has 2 main pools (not including the tiny Spice H20 pool) which are virtually the same size as the 2 pools on the Pearl and Jewel, however the Epic holds about 1700 more passengers. I can tell you that I now know what it feels like to be a sardine after getting in the Epic pools on a hot day. Conversely, the pools on the Pearl and Jewel were much more comfortable and way less crowded. The Casino on the Epic is located in an area where you regularly required to walk through to get from one end of the ship to the other. We hardly ever needed to walk through the Casino on the Pearl or Jewel. Seating for La Cecina Italian Restaurant on the Epic is located in an open area below the buffet seating. We were seated in this area when we dined at La Cucina and above us were a group of people playing cards and making a hell of a racket whilst we were trying to enjoy a nice dinner. La Cucina on the Pearl and Jewel is next to the buffet but fully closed off at night with no adjacent noise from the buffet. Having said all the above there are definitely some aspects of the Epic that we did like. The entertainment is the best we've experienced on a ship. The stage shows are first class and the Circus show and dinner in the Speigel Tent was incredible. The water slides are great if you don't mind the wait, the Cavern Club, whilst on the small side is a fantastic venue to watch live bands and Howl at the Moon duelling pianos was great. The quality and choice of entertainment available on the Epic is definitely the ship's strong point and is a reason to pick this ship. Not sure how accurate this is but was told that there were initially plans to build more ships in the Epic Class, however these plans were scrapped when the ship turned out to be not as popular as was expected. The Epic was a bit of an experiment as it is totally different to previous Norwegian builds. Glad we tried the Epic but in future will stick to the Jewel Class ships as we feel they are the perfect size and have a lot of what the Epic has without the crowds.
  13. Both Velvet and Rock You Tonight are great. The Circus show is by all reports very very good but there were technical problems when we saw it and it was cancelled after about 15 mins. Did not have a favourite bar. When you have the drinks package they are all great. Favourite MDR would be Azure. It looks great after the refurbishment. Very tastefully decorated. Having said that Tsars Palace is also very nice with the windows at the rear of the restaurant. Food in both Tsars and Azure are the same. We like the specialty restaurants and had a 6 meal package. Cagney's was our favourite. If you don't enjoy the food there then you are very hard to please. We also really liked Le Bistro French Restaurant. Very nice atmosphere and wonderful food. Our only disappointment was that the band on board (Prism) was very ordinary compared to what we had on the Norwegian Epic. We had the Epic Beatles (brilliant) and another great band that played everything from Frank Sinatra to Metallica and were excellent. I guess we were spoilt on the Epic. Others on the Jewel were telling us that the band that were on the ship last year (Hotwire) were much better than Prism and were hoping Hotwire were still on the ship. The Jewel is a great ship and you are going to have an incredible time.
  14. Just returned from 13 nights on the Jewel and we absolutely loved every minute of it. We were on the Epic last April and enjoyed that too but we all agreed that the Jewel wins hands down. To us it had a much better layout and never felt crowded. I always judge how crowded a ship feels by how easy it is to get a seat at the buffet during peak times on sea days. I have to say that we never had any problem finding a seat on the Jewel. If there were no seats in the main Garden Cafe area we could always find one in the adjacent Great Outdoors (which was a better place to sit anyway) or in La Cecina which can be used for breakfast or lunch. Cannot say the same thing about the Epic which was like a zoo and was always a fight to get a seat. After the recent refurbishment the Jewel looks and feels like a new ship. NCL have done a great job. We would cruise on the Jewel again in a heartbeat. Would love to have the ship down here in Australia year round. Was told by the Future Cruise Consultant on the Jewel that NCL look like bringing the Norwegian Jade to Australia in 2021. It is virtually identical to the Jewel.
  15. We were on the Epic in April last year repositioning cruise and they had the Epic Beatles and some other band in the Cavern Club. Cannot remember the name of the other band but they were incredible. They could play anything from Frank Sinatra to Metallica. The singer/lead guitarist would often play 3-4 minute lead breaks during songs and walk out into the audience. He was a very very good guitarist. I got talking to him one night in the Garden Cafe and he was telling me that the band are a bunch of guys from Columbia that up until 4 years ago just played Columbian style music then decided to learn a whole range of music/songs so they could work on cruise ships. If anyone knows the name of the band and if they are still on Epic or another ship I would be interested to know. The Cavern Club is a great venue but way undersized. I agree with the previous poster, you need to get there an hour before the band starts to have any chance of getting a seat. The venue needs to be at least twice the size to handle the crowds it attracts.
  16. We got off the Jewel last Friday having done a 13 night cruise from Sydney. We have done some 25 - 30 cruises and have to say that this is up there with the best we've ever done. The Jewel is like a new ship after the recent refurbishment. Our balcony cabin was great, food was excellent, weather was perfect and the ship is beautiful and never felt crowded. Our favourites in no particular order were: Cagney's Steakhouse (we went there 3 times) Le Bistro French (went there twice) Teppanyaki (great food and a fun night) The Great Outdoors (a great spot away from the noise and chaos of the Garden Cafe but with the same food) Spinnaker Lounge (great views and very relaxing place during the day) Hanging out around the pool with a nice drink from Topsiders Bar. Stardust Theatre (a great theatre with great views from just about every seat) Loved "Velvet" and "Rock You Tonight". Both were top quality and very professional. Chin Chin Chinese Restaurant (great food and complimentary) Tsars Palace Dining Room (very elegant dining room with great aft views from the back of the restaurant) Hopefully we will be back on the Jewel again next year although the itineraries from Sydney are not as interesting as this years and consist mainly of NZ which can be hit and miss with the weather. We think the Jewel is perfectly suited to warm weather cruising but would not be so good in a cool climate if you enjoy using the pools (outdoor pools not heated and no indoor pool). We love it out in the sun around the pool and sometimes that is not possible on a NZ cruise.
  17. Whilst we are on the subject of Sydney. I was out and about in the city on the weekend and the Norwegian Jewel was in town.
  18. I'll have a guess and say that it is either the next Edge Class ship is coming to Australia/New Zealand/Asia or we are getting another Solstice Class ship in 20/21.
  19. I go on a cruise to get away from that sh**. Each to their own but I cannot for the life of me understand why anyone would pay $206.50 for internet access on a cruise. There are way too many other things to be doing with your time on the ship or in port than sitting infront of a computer, iPad or phone.
  20. Looking at the 2 videos of the Dawn and Star revitalisations I would expect that the Jewel's Garden Cafe Buffet restaurant would get a complete makeover. The before and after shots of the Dawn and Star were incredible. I've never been on the Jewel (booked to cruise on 5 Jan from Sydney) but I'm expecting a lot classier and modern looking ship after the refurbishment.
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