I took my daughter on this cruise to celebrate her college graduation. Overall, we had a good time. We arrived in Venice a day early and had a chance to explore the city. Saturday we boarded the Jade. The people working in the cruise terminal could not have been any nicer and we boarded quickly without having to wait in any lines.
Once on board the ship we found our cabin then made our way to the pool deck for lunch. For the most part we enjoyed the Jade. It didn't quite measure up to Royal Caribbean in terms of the food or the staff however. The food was ok, just nothing memorable. We never ate at the specialty restaurants, only at the buffet or either of the main dining rooms. It seemed as if the staff was just there to do their jobs, the level was nowhere near what we've encountered on Royal Caribbean. We didn't even meet our cabin steward until 2 or 3 days into the cruise.
We had 2 sea days both of which were windy and overcast days. We weren't able to spend much time outside on the pool deck which we had been looking forward to doing.
We loved the ports. They far exceeded our expectations. We explored Dubrovnik on our own, first climbing the city walls then shopping a bit before returning to the ship. One nice surprise was the members of the ship's staff who met the passengers with cold cups of water and clean damp washclothes to wash our hands.
Our next port was Athens. We had signed up for a private tour with a family group from Kansas & Texas that we met online through our roll call. They were an awesome group and we enjoyed touring the city with our guide. He was able to get us to the Acropolis before all the tour groups from the ships got there. After taking us on a driving tour he dropped us off at the flea market for shopping and lunch. On the way back to the ship he stopped at a bakery for baklava that we had boxed up and took back to the ship.
We stopped in Izmir, Turkey and again had a private tour with people from the roll call. This was more of an international group which included Canadians and a couple from Sweden. Our guide took us to Ephesus and we toured the site along with the Terrace Houses. We were then on our own for the rest of the afternoon and took the opportunity to explore the shops and restaurants in Izmir.
Next port of call was Split. Split was a lovely city which was quite easy to explore on our own.
Disembarking the ship was just as easy as boarding. We took the people mover from the cruise terminal to the train station where we bought our tickets to Rome. We left our luggage in storage there for some last minute purchases in Venice. We then took the train to Rome, found our hotel, and then walked to the Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps. A quick bite of dinner, then back to our hotel for a good night's sleep before our flight home the next day.