NCL appear to want to encourage you to use the pay for restaurants, and make the process of an evening meal at the normal ones quite an obstacle race. Personally I think that is a little cheeky, we have after all paid for all our meals upfront. On the first night we ended up in the disappointing Alizar with poor service and a long wait, but went to the pacific on other nights which was far superior. Whilst the paid main restaurants were over run the paid extra ones seemed very quiet and too me that suggested they are looking for too many dollars from that source.
The decor of the ship was dark and somewhat off-putting due to the Hawaiian theme, which did not really play well in the eastern med!
We had a mini suite on the 11th floor which was excellent. It was convenient for everything and a refuge from our over excitable fellow guests. Jimmy our attendant was excellent.
We enjoyed RJ Red in the atrium bar but his voice would have better suited a more intimate More
area. I felt it was disappointing that the observation bar seemed to be used exclusively for rather mundane game shows in seven languages. A quite gin and tonic would have suited better.
Check in was ok but a bit long winded. If you are in Venice already you can get the people mover train to the port from the plaza roma for 1 euro each.
We enjoyed the barbeques on deck and these happened three times.
The pool side facilities were however over run and it was very difficult to find somewhere to sunbathe without falling into the theme of reserving at dawn, which then led too inevitable conflicts.
Disembarkation was smooth. We took people carrier to the plaza Roma again and a 6 euro bus ride to the airport. This compares favourably to the excessive 30 euro per head NCL wished to charge. Also do not believe their scaremongering about no taxis, there were plenty awaiting customers.
We took Monarch flights from Gatwick, very smooth and much nicer than the standard budget airlines.
As a final point we were surprised with the small number of Americans and Northern Europeans on the ship and may in future sail from UK ports as we did feel the manner and courtesy of a number of fellow guests left a lot to be desired. Less
Norwegian Jade Cruises to the Eastern Mediterranean
Katakolon. We took the tour to Olympia having attended the recent London games. Tour guide was good and knowledgeable. The site was evocative of games past, the old stadium itself in remarkable good condition. As a treat we listened to the epic 5000 metre recording we made in the Olympic stadium with Mo Farah. On return we spent an enjoyable afternoon at a dockside bar with free wifi, good beer and we met some nice English people who had been on the Thomson Majestic.
Santorini -- tender to shore followed by a 30 minute wait for cable car (which was expected and not a problem). My wife enjoyed the cable car, I found it truly terrifying in an earthquake zone, but it is a matter of choice! The bars and restaurants in Santorini were very nice with fantastic views and not that expensive. We walked down which was fun but took some time. They say the sunsets at Santorini are amongst the worlds best and I can confirm they even put the famous Margate sunsets in the shade.
We stayed for 2 nights in Venice prior to embarking which was an ideal way of preparing for our cruise. We highly recommend the valporetta bus. Buy a day or two day pass and just cruise and see the fantastic sites. The sail out of Venice is one of the highlights.