Just back from Venice after travelling on the Norwegian Jade in an inside cabin. Having read a few 'moans' beforehand about the food, freestyle dining, sun-loungers, bathroom size,etc, we were a wee bit nervous about how we would enjoy it. Shouldn't have worried - read on!
Embarkation was fine and smooth. Went for inside cabin for the first time. Thought it was fine. CRT TV didn't bother us as we were not there to watch Corrie!. Toilet/shower was small, but the shower cubicle was bigger than we've had on RCI. If it is an issue with you that you don't get the wee bottles of shampoo etc in the toilet, stay at home.
Freestyle dining was fine. We ate in the Alizar dining room three times then stopped using it as the service was dreadfully slow, though the food was fine. Used Grand Pacific dining room the rest of the time and didn't have to wait for a table once, even though it was busy when we went there. Food was very good ( and hot), and service was first class. Didn't use More
the speciality restaurants as the food was so good in the Grand Pacific. Think others had the same idea as these restaurants were mostly empty every night. Garden Cafe buffet could get a bit busy at times but we always got a table, at times sharing. Again, food was good.
Couple of the bars lacked atmosphere and were quiet at night. Drink is expensive, but bear in mind that it is at least a double measure you get so not as bad as you think. Main Atrium Bar, the Aloha, was busy with good atmosphere. Entertainment in main Stardust Theatre - mixed. Magician we hated, Roberto and Dorado were amazing, but both acted were on once each week and again for a bit during the excellent 'Elements' show at the end of the Cruise. Otherwise the main theatre shows were pretty good, with the odd bummer but so what. Cruise Director Gio and his staff were the best we've ever encountered on a Cruise.
On-board shops - extortionate. Photographs - ditto. Fitness 'talks' lead to a big 'sell' at the end so avoid them. Poolside area always busy as you expect and the band/singer playing were good. Note - the music entertainment in all bars and at the poolside were the same almost every day/night of the cruise ! Never once failed to get sun-loungers - regardless of what time of day we went to get them! Given there is a 15% gratuity of all drinks, and that you have paid a chunk of money for the cruise in the first place, you can easily avoid the $12 a day per person add-on to your bill by going to Customer services the day before the cruise ends and asking for a 'yellow form' to cancel the charge as you wish to do 'Personal Tipping'. We did it and there was no problem whatsoever.
As we were on a back-to-back cruise, we spent the day in Venice midway. Took a waterbus from the dock, 15euro per person return. Drops you near St Mark's square. Very busy but we loved Venice. A 'must-do' is the Doges Palace. Easy walk too to the Rialto Bridge. Overall, we loved the Cruise and any issues or irritations were so minor as to hardly mention. Just get on with it, live it, and love it! Less
Norwegian Jade Cruises to the Eastern Mediterranean
Ahtens on your own - Athens must have at one point been a beautiful city but seeing almost every bit of spare space in the city spray-painted with graffiti was a shame. Also, walking past buses parked outside their parliament building full of solders tooled-up for a war waiting to happen was sad to see. Plenty of shops it that is what you want. Didn't go up to Acropolis as did this on previous visit. There is a lovely interesting park just behind the parliament building, - go there. It is only 15 mins walk from pick-up point.
Docked at main town. Usual souvenir shops, and plenty of restaurants/bars. You can get free wifi directly outside MacDonalds. Visited main fort in town - woeth the 3 euros alone for the view from the top.
Took an excursion to Olympia as there is nothing in Katakolon. Olympia was very good, as was the museum we visited. Guide was very good, and handle the busload of us well. Little time on your own tho' at Olympia - 15 mins to be exact then you had to meet the Guide to go to the museum, after which she leads you to shops that she 'recommends'for 45 mins.
Dock near to town, with free shuttle to edge of town. Lovely town, - impossible not to get lost in the wee windey streets but easy to find out where you are by heading to the shore. Loads of souvenir shops selling not just your run-of-the-mill stuff. Quite cheap too. Free wifi in loads of bars/cafes.
Tendered - ship will announce the day beforehand that tender tickets will be available to collect from 9am at the poolside that morning. GO EARLY to queue for tender tickets or you will wait over an hour to get on a tender later! Santorini - no brainer - take the cable car to the top. Queue looks long but moves quite quick. Towm is nice but find the bus station (central) and get the but to Oia - the most beautiful hilltop village I've ever seen. Don't take excursion. Bus is 1.60 euros per person each way and runs every 20 minutes.
Loved it. Check a map out beforehand as getting from the dock to the Palace is a bit confusing. The Palace is really a large walled area that you can actually walk past without noticing it is there. It contains lovely architecture and ruins, as well as shops, cafes, and peoples homes! If you go up the Bell tower, it is 197 deep steps to the top, and is crampt on the staircase as one narrow stairwell does up and down for most of the way. Well worth it tho', for the view. Lovely cafes in squares and prices vary. The market is typical but a bit smelly in the fish area when it is 25 degrees!