Norwegian Jade Cruise Review by dbsb3233: NCL Jade, Venice/Dubrovnik/Athens/Irmir/Split
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NCL Jade, Venice/Dubrovnik/Athens/Irmir/Split
Embarkation - Once we got into the cruise terminal, there were no lines at all. We just walked up to an agent and checked in, and headed to the ship. Must have timed it just right. But for those that have never cruised out of Venice before, be aware that it takes some effort (at least if you get to/from the airport by water). We took the Alilaguna water bus from the airport. Decided to take the long route (almost 2 hours) that goes by the other islands, since we had extra time and we thought it might be nice to tour the wider lagoon. Dragging your luggage on/off the boat, up the ramps, down the long sidewalk at the airport, etc. takes a bit of muscle and effort. And the baggage drop was in a different building around the corner. Luckily they had someone fairly close directing us there so we only had to backtrack a little when they told us that.
Disembarkation - We stayed one day/night at a hotel after the cruise. That's an even bigger chore dragging bags that far. It was a More 10-15 minute walk to get to the "People Mover" tram (which avoids an extra 10-15 minute walk) to get to Piazza Roma, where we then bought vaporetto tickets and caught the #1 down the Grand Canal to the St Marks area near our hotel. The People Mover was mobbed with hoards of people. And it must have been 100 degrees in that thing when they closed the doors. Escalator broke down and we had to drag our bags up to the platform (instead of waiting for 50 people rushing the elevator. If we even cruised out of Venice again (which we won't), I'd skip the People Mover and just walk the rest of the way.
Cabin - I wrote a separate review for that. Other than the A/C cutting off at night, we were mostly pleased with the cabin.
Ship - On the whole the ship was OK. It's not as big as some of the RC ships we're more used to (or the NCL Epic we sailed on last year), but it was sufficient. Fewer facilities, fewer activities, weaker entertainment... pretty much what goes along with sailing on a smaller ship vs a larger one. But overall it was still pretty good.
Excursions - We used the NCL excursions at every port. Love the way NCL organizes their excursions, where you meet in the theater, they call your group, you line up and they but the bus# sticker on you. Then you simply head outside and head to the buses and find your number. Far better method than RC uses (where you try to find the group in the mob with the right sign, if they even bother holding it up). All the excursions had good guides and drivers.
Food - Typical cruise food. Good but not great in the main dining room. We LOVE the Freestyle seating, where our group of 4 could just get a table of our own, when we wanted. There was a line at peak times (like right after a show lets out) but we only had to wait a couple of nights. The other days we were seated right away. The buffet for breakfast was usually super-crowded and we really had to work to find a table. But that's common on most cruises. Food there was just "eh", like most cruise buffets.
Overall - Happy with the cruise, and I'm glad we got to see Venice once in my lifetime. But once was enough. We got a good flavor of it in our 1.5 days after the cruise. It's too much effort to get around (even just to/from the airport to the cruise terminal) for us to be interested in going back again. We can cross that destination off our bucket lists now. Less
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Cabin review: Norwegian Jade 4568
The cabin was OK with one big exception - the air conditioning would shut off around roughly 1am-4am. The room would warm up and make it very difficult to sleep. Also, even on the lowest setting, the room would only get modestly cool the rest of the day. I reported it 2nd day, and they sent maintenance while we were on an excursion. Whatever they did seemed to improve it during the day only modestly (still had to leave it in the lowest setting and would have preferred it a few degrees cooler than that. But it didn't fix the overnight problem.They left a phone messaging asking for a follow-up as to whether it fixed the problem (the customer service was very good). I went to the front desk and told them the status. They then told me that one entire section of the ship was having the same problem (shutting off in the middle of the night), including his own cabin down in the crew section. They were aware of the problem and hoped to have it fixed soon, but it never did for the duration of our cruise. It was compounded a bit by the heavy comforters they provide on the beds. Too hot. But I hate sleeping under only a thin sheet. There was no in-between. I ended up using one of the beach towels they provide but that didn't work so well.But other than that, the cabin was pretty good for a non-balcony. The shower was GREAT - much bigger than the little "coffins" that we often get on other cruise lines. The toilet was a bit tight, with my knees brushing the wall, but no big deal. Sink area was a little tight but good enough.Flatscreen TV was nice, with a working HDMI port to plug our laptop into to watch our own shows/movies we brought when needed. The channel selection they provide is terrible. Maybe 3 English speaking channels (BBC News, CNBC's international feed, and I think one sports channel with almost full-time soccer).Beds were firm but generally OK. The room "feels" much larger if you separate the beds. Otherwise the room would be too tiny. Splitting the beds gives you usable space between them, and allows you to actually make a little use of the porthole to look out. It's still a small cabin overall (we're used to larger balcony cabins) but it was comfortable enough with the beds split.Storage space was good. Lots of drawers and cubby-holes. We slide our suitcases under the beds so that frees up closet space. Pillows were very thin, but I asked our room attendant for fluffy ones and he left 2 that night that were much better.This cabin is right next to the service area bulkhead, so we did hear a little noise from that. But that was infrequent. I always sleep with earplugs so it wasn't a problem for me.If it wasn't for the air conditioning issue, I'd have given the cabin a solid "B". Presumably they'll get that issue fixed before much longer.
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