We have cruised on Celebrity, Disney and Royal Caribbean, and must say that the Jade was as good as all these in most respects and even better in some.
Cabin - We accidentally booked a handicapped cabin with a partially-obstructed view, 8100, as it was roomier than other ocean view cabins. It was good, we had no problem with the shower having a curtain instead of a door, as the floor sloped slightly and water never splashed onto the bathroom floor.
Food - Breakfast. We only ate once in the diningroom, as the buffet offered a very wide choice, thankfully including "english back" bacon as well as the overcooked streaky. Huge variety of eggs and other hot and cold offerings, including smoked salmon were available.
- Lunch. This is where the Jade was better than any other cruise we've been on. The choice at the buffet, and the quality, was excellent. Curries every day, fish, several meat dishes, tasty and well-prepared vegetables, pastas and pizzas, plenty of salads and fruit. The only downside being uninteresting desserts, which was also evident at dinner.
- Dinner. The food was very good in the main dining rooms, so we never bothered with speciality. The quality of steaks, lamb and pork was as good as the other cruise lines, and the salmon available every night was great. On the night when mahi-mahi and prime rib were offered as main courses, we had both, and on other occasions we exchanged mains for starters, which was no trouble for the staff. Coffee was weak, but Lavazza always available at a reasonable charge.
Freestyle dining was only a problem one night when we had to wait half an hour as everyone was trying to get a table after the early show around 8.30, otherwise we waited no longer than 5 minutes.
Entertainment. The shows were all good, with the exception of one, which was really aimed at children, but we should have been warned of this. The magician/illusionist was sensational, and "Shout" and the last night's performance were also standouts. Almost as good as Disney, better than Celebrity and RCI.
The music in the bars and lounges was mixed, some very good (a New Orleans Jazz Band one night), others mediocre.
As is common on many cruises, it was annoying to find loungers around the pool booked early morning by people who used them only much later. On the last sailing day, there was an attendant sticking times on the chairs and removing towels when unused for an hour, but it wasn't enough. We also felt there were not enough comfortable chairs outside in the shade, especially for those of us of an advanced age!
We do not agree with the criticism of some that NCL just want to get your money - other lines also have goods for sale in shops and sometimes on deck, and we did not find it intrusive.
I have just read another review of this cruise complaining that 90% of passengers were Italian. This is simply not true - at the first night's show the Cruise Director went through all the countries, and Italians were less than 40%, and there were not more children than you will find on other cruises.
We enjoyed our cruise so much that we put down deposits on 2 more NCL cruises, and look forward to taking those next year.