A Norwegian Jewel in the crown
As our love of cruising shows no signs of slowing down, Norwegian Cruise Line has made a splash down under with Norwegian Jewel proving to be a real gem
With a love of the ocean, passion for travel and good sense of fun and adventure, it’s hardly surprising that Australians are choosing a cruise as their holiday of choice more than ever before.
For the past decade, the number of Aussies cruising has grown by an average 19.4 per cent per year, with a record breaking 1.29 million of us taking a cruise in 2016.
Cruising closer to home is what’s really driving these numbers. With the convenience of boarding a ship without having to worry about long-haul flights first, combined with the beauty and experiences on offer throughout the South Pacific, we’ve got the winning formula for a fuss-free holiday that has it all.
The world’s best and biggest cruise lines have anchored on to this and they’re heading down under in droves, homeporting their ships and specifically tailoring their offerings to Australians.
More than 15 years since its last visit to Sydney, cruise giant Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) is back, with Norwegian Jewel homeporting locally for the first time ever, embarking on two full cruising seasons from Sydney.
In addition to excellent facilities, world-class entertainment and an expansive range of dining and accommodation options, she offers NCL’s signature ‘Freestyle cruising’ concept, with no set dining times, formal dress codes or pre-assigned seating, allowing Aussies the relaxed, resort-style cruise holiday that appeals to them most.
In celebration of her highly anticipated inaugural homeport season, we hop on board Norwegian Jewel as she embarks on a five-day voyage from Sydney to Tasmania, calling in at Burnie and Hobart.
Boasting some of the largest suites at sea, Norwegian Jewel has a range of suites, including the ultra-luxe, resort-style sanctuary ‘The Haven by Norwegian’. Located at the very top of the ship, The Haven offers a premium level of comfort and privacy, making it ideal for families. In addition to its expansive, beautifully appointed suites and villas, it features private pools and relaxation areas, exclusive spa access, private dining, a dedicated concierge service and a 24-hour butler.
Other accommodation options include spacious suites and penthouses with large balconies for up to eight guests, mini-suites and balcony staterooms with sitting area and luxury bath and shower, comfortable and cost-effective ocean-view and inside staterooms, and spa suites, with direct access to Mandara Spa and complimentary use of spa facilities. Interconnecting and multi-bedroom suites can also be arranged.
Beautiful polished wood furnishings and thoughtful details feature prominently throughout all suites with plush linens, Bulgari bath amenities and intuitive housekeeping attendants adding a touch of luxury to creature comforts.
The food on-board is a vital part of any cruise experience, and Norwegian Cruise Line is renowned for having the widest range of complimentary and specialty dining options at sea. Serving a variety of cuisines, Norwegian Jewel spoils for choice with 16 dining options. Complimentary dining includes two main restaurants, Tsar’s and Azura, offering a daily changing menu of internationally inspired dishes as well as Chef’s signature dishes and an extensive wine list. Asian fusion foodies can’t go past Chin Chin’s flavoursome stir fries, O’Sheehans has all the pub favourites with beer on tap, Garden Café is always buzzing with buffet-style breakfasts, lunches and dinners and for dining alfresco, head to Topsiders Grill or the Great Outdoors for hot dogs, burgers and other fresh-off-the-grill delights.
Specialty dining takes it up a notch and a specialty dining package is highly recommended. Take your tastebuds around the world – there’s Japanese, French, Italian, Brazilian; you name it. My top picks are the Teppanyaki Room with theatrical chefs preparing your dinner on the grill right in front of you with entertaining humour and skill, and Moderno, a Brazilian churrascaria with an exquisite salad bar and skewers of succulent meats slow-roasted to perfection and carved at your table. Classic French fine dining at Le Bistro’s elegant dining room is another highlight. Wherever you decide to dine, you’ll never go hungry!
With award-winning entertainment, there’s never a dull moment on-board Norwegian Jewel. Stardust Theatre showcases an incredible line-up of entertainment every night, from thrilling circus performances and acrobatics to live music concerts and dance productions. Australia’s very own Burn the Floor is by far the hottest performance at sea, with an insanely talented cast of passionate dancers performing high-tempo, jaw-droppingly choreographed dance numbers against a dynamic backdrop and live soundtrack.
Additionally, there’s 15 unique bars and nightclubs, including a casino, with most featuring live entertainment, such as music, stand-up comedy, and themed parties, every evening. Whether you’re after all-night dancing at Spinnaker Lounge or a quiet nightcap at Magnum’s Champagne & Wine Bar, the choice is yours.
Kids will also be plenty entertained with their own program of fun-filled, creative and engaging activities for ages six months to 12 years at Splash Academy, while teens aged 13-17 can kick back with friends at Entourage.
For shopping, pick up an original artwork on Deck 7’s Park West Gallery boasting one of the largest and most valuable collections of art at sea, with daily changing displays and special events, or get a great deal on designer goods, jewellery, souvenirs and more in Duty Free Shopping at Crystal Atrium.
Stay active at Body Waves Fitness Centre, complete with state-of-the-art facilities, classes and personal training. There’s also an outdoor running track, sports court, and swimming pools, including an adults-only pool, and hot tubs.
When it’s ‘me time’, head to Mandara Spa. With an extensive menu of more than 50 specialty treatments including massages, facials, wellness rituals and cosmetic treatments, and a full-service beauty salon, you’ve come to the right place for a little self-indulgence. You can also get the Thermal Suite Pass for some R&R in the spa baths, sauna, steam room and relaxation area looking out to sea.
Fresh from her bow-to-stern multi-million dollar revitalisation, Norwegian Jewel will return to our shores in November 2018 for her second season of Australasian sailings, with itineraries including Australia, New Zealand, New Caledonia and Southeast Asia. •
Photography by Norwegian Cruise Line.
Top five tips
1. Spend a little extra and get the speciality dining package. Make your reservation in advance as speciality restaurants are popular and can book out.
2. Look for daily spa specials and packages and treat yourself to some well-deserved pampering.
3. Get to Stardust Theatre about 10 minutes before the show starts to get good seats as it can get busy. Luckily, there are two performances each night.
4. For some solitude, the top of Deck 13 at the very front is a ‘quiet zone’ and has a row of loungers strategically placed for a great outlook over the ocean. Take something warm as it does get breezy.
5. Don’t forget your Australian power adapter as all power points on the ship are European and American.
Norwegian Cruise Line: 1300-255-200; ncl.com.au/en