This was our 2nd trip on the Jade in two years and again it lived up to expectations.
Arrival & Embarkation
We were met in the airport by NCL staff (we had booked flight as part of our package) and escorted to coaches where we then had a 20 min approx ride to the Port. We got through this checking process relatively quickly and then had to wait approx 30 minutes before we could board, Cabins were available quiet soon after this I think we were in them by around 1.30pm and our baggage arrived later perhaps 3.30pm ish.
Nice room, ample storage space, usual coffee machine, fridge and safe in it and great balcony kept clean every day by our Steward Charles who was great and made us the best towel sculpture I have ever seen – a swinging monkey.
Garden Buffet restaurant - we usually ate here we did notice a change from 2011 there is not as much variety this time however there is still a great choice with Salads, soups, breads, pizza’s, pasta’s, curry’s, stir frys, carvery and hot station & large selection of fruit & desserts on each evening. I also personally liked the sandwich bar they had here in the afternoon and the evening snacks (sandwiches, tikka skewers etc) at the Outdoor café from 9.30pm.
Blue Lagoon – we often ate in here as it was table served, not a huge variety (burger, hot dog, chicken sandwich) but what you got was good.
Moderno – we tried this speciality restaurant which had a cover charge of $20pp and whilst glad we tried it would not rush back. The salad bar for starters is great and the idea good – waiters come to your table with two skewers of meat at a time, they tell you about the meat and then you have as much or as little as you like. The meat ranged from chicken to sausage to pork ribs to fillet mignon, to lamb chops to beef we really liked some but not others and you get a selection of mashed potato, banana, rice & paprika bean stew to go with these.
Chocoholics Buffett – even if you do not eat chocolate have a look at this on the last night the creativity is amazing – castles, Sphinx etc all made out of chocolate and of course plenty of chocolate cakes, dipped fruits etc to eat.
Soda package & Juice package (this is new since 2011 and allows you to have soda but also cranberry, orange & grapefruit juice too) we booked these straight away I think this was app $50 for soda & $70 for juice pp. This is a MUST if like me you drink a lot throughout the day.
Coffee – the coffee machine in the room serves really good coffee and
Charles always made sure I had enough regular (no decaf rubbish please) sachets.
Alcohol – we are not big drinkers but always had a drink in an evening the prices were not too bad – e.g. a white wine about $9 per glass inc tax and a spirit & mixer about $7 per glass inc tax
Shows – we went to two shows
Graffiti - 4 people playing violins & Cello and the music ranged from Bach to ‘Danny Boy’ to ‘What shall we do with the drunken sailor’ and was very light hearted with audience participation
Elements – this was on the last night and is a MUST – fantastic show incorporating music, dance some illusionist tricks and some trapeze it is fantastic.
The NCL photographers take random photos of you throughout the cruise e.g. when you embark and disembark at Ports – if you go to the photo area and ask them to keep your photos in a folder they will hold them all behind the desk for you to add extra photos to each day and then you can view and make final selections at the end of the cruise.
We used the services of a professional photographer one night and he took several different pictures in a variety of poses we then shortlisted a few at the end of the holiday which we purchased.
Corfu – when we got off here we found a local bus nearby offering rides to the Old Town for 1.5 Euro pp we hopped on this and 5 minutes later were at the entrance to the old Town. We then walked up to the newest of the old fortress and paid 4 Euros pp (If I remember correctly) to enter this is an interesting ruin and gives you scope for some great panoramic views over Corfu town. After this we wandered around the old town heading back along the coastline to the ship later
Santorini – we docked at sea around 1.30pm and unlike previous cruises with the Jade they did not use their own boats to tender instead boats from Santorini eventually arrived and began taking people to the shore this did take a very long time although we had tender ticket 10 (available from staff by the pool at 9am that morning) we did not dock till 4pm!!!. You then have 3 options, walk up a very steep and long path, ride donkeys up said path or take the cable car to the top – we opted for this it cost about 6 Euro pp (if I remember correctly), be prepared to queue but it is well organized. Once at the top we walked along the cliff tops taking in the scenery and exploring the cobbled streets it really is a very charming place we also saw the famous blue roofed churches. We then returned and walked down the path to the shore (large number of steps) and past lots of the famous donkeys, where tender boats were operating fairly regularly back to the Jade.
Mykonos – the NCL shuttle bus takes you to a car park on the outskirts of the main Town and from there it is easy to wander into the midst. We made our way to the famous windmills and then returned via the maze of cobbled streets enjoying the local shops, we did not choose to eat but there were plenty of restaurants on the seaside if you wanted to enjoy the local cuisine. We then got the shuttle bus back to the Jade. NB it was very windy whilst here and in nearby waters Accor dinging to staff that is quite common.
Katakolon – this docks within easy walking distance of the Town so we just wandered around and stumbled across a ‘noddy train’ on the main road which operated a hop on hop off policy and ran between here a local winery and a local beach ( beware this is shingle and the sea bed is very rocky) we decided to give that a go and I think that was also 6 Euro pp but was a great and cheap way of seeing some more of the surrounding area. We did not stop at the winery but did stop at the beach briefly and then returned to the Town where again we ambled around the shops. If you chose to eat off the ship there are plenty of restaurants along the harbour side to choose from.
Disembarkation – we left our cases outside our cabin at 11.45pm and the next morning our colour was called to disembark when we arrived into the main hall we were reunited with our cases we then had a coach transfer (booked as part of our package) back to the airport.
All in all it was a fantastic cruise, excellent weather and very easy Ports to visit on your own without having to do organized tours would highly recommend and we will certainly be doing another NCL cruise at some point.