If you were looking over Sydney’s fabled harbour last Sunday, you would have noticed an absolutely unmistakable beauty of a cruise ship. The distinctively vibrant livery is impossible to miss, with those sweeps of colours dancing around the words ‘Norwegian Jewel’. This almost 300 metre-length monster was about to set sail on the first of what will undoubtedly be many fabulous cruises from Sydney.
There’s little doubt that Norwegian Cruise Lines’ (NCL) return to Australia is a success, as you would be a very lucky cruise lover if you could find a single vacant cabin on this 12-year-old ship throughout its forthcoming three-month season.
The first lucky Norwegian Jewel cruisers – pretty much all of the 2,376 passengers being Australians – are off to Tasmania, and the cruise line’s executive vice president Harry Sommer admitted he had “a lump in my throat” when he watched his fully loaded ship depart.
Make no mistake, Norwegian Cruise Lines is taking its Aussie season very seriously. It has adapted its service to our laid-back way of life, by not assigning seating ahead of time or setting dining times in stone, and signing up an Australian dance production called ‘Burn the Floor’.
Not just that, Australian diners will enjoy more local lamb on the just-for-us menu, as well as a big selection of Aussie beers and the sort of specialty coffee we just love to drink Down Under.
The first of nine cruises from Sydney headed to Tassie, but Norwegian Jewel will head all around Australia, New Zealand and beyond in the next three months, including a novel trip to Kangaroo Island.
Cruise lovers really love the Norwegian Jewel, which features no fewer than 15 (yes, fifteen!) bars and lounges, and the amazing ship-within-a-ship ‘Haven’ at the top – where big spenders like Bon Jovi and royalty have spent time.
And while it may be 12 years old, the ship got the full refurbish treatment in 2014, so it still has that new smell for its 2017/2018 Aussie tour.
But even after the last of the Norwegian Jewel’s forthcoming cruises from Sydney, there’s still more to come. The massive ship is scheduled to get a full bow-to-stern drydock enhancement in Singapore next year, and Harry Sommer said the then gleaming-like-new Norwegian Jewel will be back.
Norwegian Jewel’s 2018/2019 cruises from Sydney will then include Melbourne and Cairns, as well as the South Pacific Islands and Asia, before the busy ship heads off for an amazing trans-Pacific cruise from Canada to Japan and beyond.
So for one of the most spectacular cruise holidays from Sydney you could ever imagine, mark down the Norwegian Jewel as a ‘must do’ in your near future.