We left on the Norwegian Jade on September 22nd from Venice, Italy.
We got in to Venice a day early and had a wonderful time seeing the city. We stayed in a hotel called Ca' Doge, or Canton del Doge. We found the room to be quite small, but that is the norm for the area. The nicest thing about it is that it is directly across the street from the Piazzale Roma, and the People Mover(Tram station to the Cruise Pier) Venice truly is a place unlike any other. I will warn you to wear comfortable walking shoes as it is a great city for going around on foot. The sights are the sights, so expect long lines and big crowds in spots like the Rialto Bridge and St. Marks Square. With that being said, people are generally courteous and move relatively quickly to allow everyone a chance to see the sights. The Vaporetto's are the waterbuses and generally the cheapest way to get around if you don't want to walk in the city, but to actually get to the city from Mestre I suggest taking to ACTV buses (1 euro 30 cents/rider). If you are flying in to Marco Polo, you can get a Bus ride to Piazzale Roma (The Bus Station in Venice Proper)for 6 euros per rider. If you have the time, make it a point to get around Venice as it is definitely a city worth seeing.
The boarding process for the Jade was ok. I've had better, but I've definitely had worse. The check-in attendants were very friendly and the people who took your big luggage were very helpful.
The food on the buffet deck was good. Not great, but definitely not the worst I've had. The selection was quite diverse. They had everything from the basic hamburgers and chicken sandwiches to more ethnic dishes such as stir fry and indian roti bread. The main complaint we had was in regards to the freestyle dining. While I understand and appreciate that many guests like that style of eating arrangement, I would prefer the option to have a set time for dining. Every night we went to either the Grand Pacific or Alizar dining rooms, there was a pretty extensive wait. They ease the frustration by having champagne and hors d'eouvres for you to sip and munch on, but it would be nice to just go in and sit down. Also I enjoy the experience of getting to know my server and get their opinions on ports and what to do when there. Just a personal opinion though, and I know not everyone shares it.
The second problem I had was on the pool deck during days at sea. I understand that everyone wants a good chair in a nice area, but I feel that if you leave said chair unattended for an extended amount of time, maybe 20 minutes, you should lose the right of the chair. There's no real way to police this, so I'm just being a bit nit picky, but it is extremely frustrating to walk around a deck for 30 minutes and not find a single chair that doesn't have a towel on it and is reserved for someone who has been down at the casino for the past hour. Just a rant and I'm off my soap box...
The last complaint is the cost of some of their entertainment. They have a deal or no deal game that seemed like it could be neat and a good time, but I was disappointed when I checked my account statement and saw that the cards were $20 a pop. Probably our fault considering we got there a bit late, but it just seemed a bit high to me. Also their bingo cards were a bit expensive. Once again, I'm being a bit nit picky here, but that was a valid concern we had.
Overall the cruise was a wonderful time and we made memories that we will cherish forever. I would highly suggest this itenerary for anyone who is considering it.