Been back a few days from a 9 night cruise on the Jade , Barcelona - Canaries .
Going to try and be balanced , As i personally don't enjoy reading reviews either stating everything was shockingly bad , or everything thing was perfect .... find them hard to trust .
Spend 2 night prior to cruise at the Hotel Grums - only paid Â£65 per night , including a great breakfast , hotel is only 1 year old and included a fab little spa , with pool , sauna , etc all in the price , located along side the port a 5 mins walk from the columbus monument on Las Ramblas. Excellent Value for money.
Embarkation was as smooth as ever , barcelona is very well set up with a well built terminal. Only problem was it was pouring with Rain !
Eat at Blue lagoon as have learnt not to even try Garden Cafe , was peace and good food , rooms were ready at 1pm ( ish )
Overall a great Holiday - I still Champion that something has to be REALLY wrong not to have a good holiday , especially a cruise !
As we had sailed on the sister ship Jewel , almost everything was exactly the same , so had no problem finding our way around ( apart from the odd occasion where certain stairs don't go to certain floors )
The ship was in Good condition , however having recently been dry docked , I didn't really show . there were a few 'Worn' signs around , nothing major but noticeable . ( And as has been stated a number of times on here, surprised the didn't take the chance to change the old CRT Tv's for LCD in the rooms )
We cruise mainly for 2 reasons - Food and entertainment , and Both were very good . Entertainment was mixed , and although nowhere near as good as EPIC , it was still enjoyable and my DD loved showtime. My ONLY issue was that over the 9 night , 2 nights they only did 1 show , which meant you had to get the the theatre early for any kind of decent seat , you could see so many people being turned away with 15 mins until show time.
Food was ate at the Main dinning rooms ( apart from 1 night ) I try to avoid the buffet as much as possible as I HATE the places at the best of time , however the few time we did go fro snacks , I could see what a lot of other have commented on as it was Busy almost all the time and very difficult to get a table. Food was still good in there , But just very loud and people racing around like ants , piling plates up with food . MDR were excellent quality food , service excellent apart from a few minor mistakes , but nothing to worry about .
Weather was slightly hit and miss , Not terrible but although sunny , sometimes quite cold . This meant less time on top deck , especially sea days . I was a bit disappointed with the activities available during the day . Big ship , good staff , yet little to no family activities to get involved in ( if you ignore the art auction , bingo and port talks ) .
Staff were overall Excellent , The Washy Washy Staff who have by far the most boring task for 12 hours a day are amazing , ALWAYS happy , always with a big smile , a credit to them ! For the first time ever since I started cruising I did come across a few miserable people , 1 Bar waiter from Jamaica ( I forgot his name ) , served mainly at the bar on deck 13 looking down to the pool around , never smiled or spoke for 9 days . also a waitress in the Tepenyakki , who argued with me a couple of times , rushed around and never offered us a drink ! But overall 99% were EXcellent , as you come to expect these days on a cruise.
The cruise Director Gio and his staff tried - I actually felt sorry for them. The mix of passengers was almost all european ( ourselves included ) and are no where near as outgoing as the Americans ( both north and south ) that we have experienced on other cruises . From the sail away parties , to the mr and mrs shows , etc , they were hard work , no fault of the Cruise staff , but there was a definite need for some Latin passion mixed with some North american confidence to liven things up on this sailing.
Pool area was Very crowded , we just accepted that to get some reasonable bed on a sea day , we had to be outside by 8.30/9am , not the end of the world to us , but could annoy some people.
The worst thing about this ship was Medussa Lounge - On the sister ship Jewel , this bar was fantastic , every night karaoke , or some kind of find show with the cruise staff , really funny , lively place . On the Jade it has a group called Guys and Doll ..... O Dear , they are terrible , Sorry Guys but one of them MUST have a family member or friend in the recruitment office because this place was DEAD , EVERY single night , I never counted more than 14 people in there ........ such a waste of a great Bar area .
We did pay for Tepenyakki 1 night , $25 cover charge , and to be honest it wasn't bad , but I wouldn't do it again . Waitress was poor , had to wait 50 mins before we had our starter , Chef Was Good , But Experience felt very unorganized. Food Quality was Excellent , however if your honest with yourself , It just meat and noodles , I would Personally recommend that anyone considering it , eat at the Jasmine ( only $15 ) , food is as good , more choice and you can watch the 'Show' from outside .
WE did none of the NCL excursion , were not big fans of being 'cattled' around. Overview -
Madeira - As it was good friday lots of things were shut , however the ship is close to the town , went up the cable car ( 15 euros ) nice views , watched the toboggans ( wait line were massive ) had a nice walk around and few drink along the front .
Tenerife - Got taxi to south of the Island and went to Siam Park , Great Water park for families , the best in Europe.
Lanzarote - Beach day - ( 20 euros in taxi to playa del carmen )
Malaga - Strolled around the city ( although wished we had gone to One of the many resort north or south as we were not impressed with Malaga at all )
The Casino was the quietist I have ever witnessed ( both on land and at sea , on every night apart from the last ) .
To reiterate , we had a Great holiday , I know it may seem like quite a negative review , but as previously stated , if I write everything was Terrible / Fantastic I feel it looses credibility . 85% of everything I came across was impressive , NCL cant do a lot about the passengers on any particular ship , but there are a few thing that could massively improve the trip .
Anyone thinking of going on the Ship should give it a try , but as for us , we going to try Disney and either Oasis / Allure before heading back to see what the new NCL ships have to offer.
( Sorry About spelling , Grammar , etc , Written on my Ipad while waiting for someone )
If anyone has any questions they need answering , feel free ...... Thanks