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Norwegian Jade

Discussion in 'Norwegian Cruise Lines' started by starlee22, Aug 29, 2008.

  1. starlee22

    starlee22 Guest

    Hi All,

    My soon to be husband and I are going on a 12 day Cruise on the Norwegian Jade for our honeymoon. We are stopping in Rome, Athens, Ephesus, Alexandria, and Malta. We are planning to go on a ship excursion in Alexandria but wanted to explore the other cities on our own. I have found some great information and instructions for Rome and Athens but nothing on Ephesus and Malta. Can anyone give me some tips or fun experiences they had in either city?

    Also, I am a little concerned with cruising with NCL. I have read reviews on the Norwegian Jade and they seem fantastic or train wrecks. Has anyone here gone on a cruise with that ship? Do you have any tips on how to make this a great honeymoon for us?

    Thank you!
  2. uppitycats

    uppitycats Guest

    That's a funny thing about NCL...folks seem to either love the ships or hate them; they've either had a fantastic experiece or an awful time, and it's hard to get a real sense of what to expect. And being on your honeymoon, I'm sure you have an increased level of anxiety.

    I don't know, as I'm about to take my first NCL cruise in a about a month... I've been on Carnival and Princess ships, but not NCL...

    but I figure, any cruise is better than no cruise; I don't have to stay on the ship the whole time (well, I do -- I use a wheelchair and many ports aren't accessible, but still...), and I'm on vacation. So I make the best of it, enjoy the experience, have a good time, and if I get home and decide I really didn't like the ship (or the cruise line), then next time I won't book it.

    Congratulations on your coming marriage! We'll be celebrating 40 years on our cruise, next month...
  3. Cruizer

    Cruizer Guest

    I was on the maiden voyage of the Jade. The love/hate relationship comes from Freestyle Dining. Learn how to work with the system and you'll have a good time. Expect more than the system can deliver and you will be disappointed. Eliminate Freestyle Dining and its just like the Carnival Spirit class or the Royal Caribbean Radiance class of ships. The Jade has a water slide and no rock climbing wall, so perhaps it is more like Carnival than Royal Caribbean.

    The idea behind Freestyle is eat where you want, when you want, with whom you want. Sounds great on paper, but in actual practice there are a few limitations. Once you understand these limitations you will have a much more enjoyable cruise.

    First of all, like land based restaurants, there are busy times and slow times. You can expect that there will be a wait at prime time, just like in land based restaurants. What is important is to figure out when is prime time and when is anti-prime time. I have not cruised in Europe, so I don't know, but I would imagine that since most Europeans eat late, that middle to late is busy and early is not.

    Next, not all the restaurants are free (included in the fare). Some have a cover charge. Is the food and service better in the extra cost restaurants over the free restaurants? Yes - would you pay extra for the same level of food and service? As to my experience, the one time I ate in the main dining room on the Star was the worst meal I have had on twelve cruises. The two meals I ate in the main dining rooms on the Jade were fine. The restaurants fall into three categories: 1) Free - no reservations required 2) Free - reservations recommended 3) Extra cost - reservations recommended. Also note, sometimes some of the extra cost restaurants are half price during the slow periods. This will be listed in the Freestyle Daily (the ship's newspaper).

    Though I have been on two NCL cruises, I am not sure how early you can make reservations and for which restaurants (you might be able to make reservations one day in a advance, or several days in advance - you might be able to make reservations for the main restaurants or you might not). On the Star (when I was in a normal balcony cabin) I made my reservation the morning of the same day except for the main restaurant when I just showed up five minutes before they opened. On the Jade, when I was in a suite, I made my reservations the afternoon of the same day (being in a suite I knew I would get priority). However, if you read my review you will see that I ate at a free - reservations recommended restaurant and also at an extra cost restaurant without reservations, and my suite status had nothing to do with it (it was just good timing).

    Learn to work within the system (as I did) and you will enjoy your cruise. Expect more than the system can deliver and it will take away from your enjoyment. Please note, though I am capable of working the Freestyle Dining to my advantage, I still prefer having a set dinner time. Also, for ANY cruise, attitude is important. Expect to enjoy yourself and have fun and you will. Expect problems and you will.

    My review of the Jade is long (thus split into three parts). Click on the links below if you want to read it ...

    Part one - http://www.cruise-addicts.com/reviews/readreview.php?id=331
    Part two - http://www.cruise-addicts.com/reviews/readreview.php?id=332
    Part three - http://www.cruise-addicts.com/reviews/readreview.php?id=333
  4. nmnita

    nmnita Guest

    I think if you read reviews on two or three forums you will find many more positives than negatives about any of NCLs newer ships including the Jade. The big difference is she was designed for Hawaii without a casino. Then re-designed with one, so she may appear to be a little chopped up. Overall, you will notice most negatives about any cruise line and they all have them are from cruisers who have a preferance for another line and have only sailed a particular once or twice. Most cruisers have loyalties and find ourselves comparing each line to the one we love the most. We shouldn't but we are human.

    As for love/hate this is somewhat true, I actually think it is probably pretty true about any line, but NCL maybe more. Freestyle took about 5 years to work all the kinks out and run as it was meant to run. In that period of time there were many who were not satisfied They couldn't wait to share the gripes, this always brings out others who want to share their bad experiences or creates so many concerns that people embark, looking for the negatives. IF we look hard enough we will always find them.

    Add to this NCL is a little different from some mass marketed lines because of the entire freesyle concept. I would guess most people who do not like NCL did not do a lot of research or were expecting a different experienc than they got. Some expect the pampering that one gets from the primium lines (ncl is relaxed, not formal) or they think freestyle means no rules, free to do just about anything and they are shocked when the learn it isn't much different form other mass marketed lines.

  5. starlee22

    starlee22 Guest

    Thank you everyone for your input. My fiance and I will have to plan out the best time for us to eat dinner. But I think we are pretty casual about dinning. If the wait is to long then we will either go to the buffet and get a snack or just skip it all together. On our other cruises we enjoyed the fine dinning a lot. I hope this is a great trip!
  6. DaveSF

    DaveSF Guest

    Wow, this comprehensive review was an amazing read. So many details, very informative and entertaining. I'm taking my first cruise in April 2009, on the Jade, and can't wait!
  7. jocap

    jocap Guest

    We sailed on Jade's round Britain cruise in July and are on her again round the eastern Med in Feb. The main complainers, as Nita says, were those who are already in love with another brand, in this case P@O. I felt that the staff were working extremely hard to iron out the first year wrinkles, and most of the complainers sounded as if they hadn't actually read the brochure, just opted for a fairly cheap cruise and missed the formal nights. We prefered her partly for this and partly for the mix of nationalities, which doesn't happen on P@O. If you remain flexible about dining you will rarely have to wait; if you can turn up early you usually can have a 2for1 meal in several restaurants which means just 5$ in the lovely Chinese "Jasmine". It also means that you aren't in the shower when you sail out of Piraeus or that breathtaking harbour of Valetta, because you're on the early sitting. Just relax, enjoy and stay flexible-we'd not be back on her so soon if she wasn't great!-jocap.
  8. romeosc

    romeosc Guest

    The Jade is a great ship and service was great. Cagney's Steakhouse is worth the extra price one or twice. Wife loved the triple Chocolate desert! "Orgasmic" was the term she used!

    We love free style cruising, great when you make new friends and don't want to have to arrange to change seating arrangements in a formal dining room! Buffet is always good and different! We are on the 1/25/09 cruise too.
  9. Madam Z

    Madam Z Guest

    Hello Everyone,

    I'm brand new to this site and wish I'd known about it sooner! All of the above posts have been very helpful. I am also soon to be on my honeymoon with my sweetie November 14, 2008 on the NCL Jade out of Barcelona. Has anyone booked with NCL their hotel and transfers to/from the airport/hotel? I've read a lot of reviews about avoiding the taxis and instead booking transfers with the cruise line but they are expensive. Also, can anyone recommend a good, centrally located, mid-priced hotel for the two of us? We're coming in from the West coast a day ahead so we can spend a day in Barcelona. One last quick question, when debarking the ship, is it possible to catch a 10:30 a.m. flight back to the West coast? or should we plan to stay over and catch a flight out the next day? Any help is greatly appreciated. This will be our first European cruise and we have no idea what to expect. We have cruised the Western Caribbean on Carnival twice, Alaska on Princess, The Hawaiian Islands on NCL (ironically, on this ship before it was renovated and renamed the "Jade"), and Eastern Caribbean on Carnival (in April 2009). Any advice is greatly appreciated!
  10. nmnita

    nmnita Guest

    Happy honeymoon,

    I can't advise about the hotel, I do know they can be very pricey but you are going somewhat off season. I would try priceline or Orbitz and see what you get.

    No, do not try a 10:30 flight..Stay the extra day, unwind and enjoy that last day, don't rush yourselves. Anything can happen, It just isnt long enough. Remember international flights require a very early check in.

    Enjoy your wonderful cruise and your life together and welcome to CruiseAddicts.

  11. Madam Z

    Madam Z Guest

    Thank you nmnita for your posting. I think you are right. We'll plan on staying the extra day just to be on the safeside. And thank you for your welcoming words. I'll check out Priceline and Orbitz to see what hotels we can find. Thanks again!

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