Well, after reading a ton of reviews of the ship from this site, I can say that some of it was spot on.
The ship did feel crowded. The pool deck was always packed. This was compounded by the several barbecues that the staff hosted which took up valuable deck space at peak times. The buffets were always slammed as well and offered the same quality ( if not better) than the sit down restaurants.
Embarkation & debarkation did go very smoothly. Except for the one tendered port. With people pushing & trying to jump the line, it was a definite negative that left us pretty ticked off the rest of the day.
The crew does work hard. Very hard. Customer service was top notch. The staff made it a point to learn our names, talk to my 5 year old, and make sure we were having a good time. Always. They were always on. They were proactive in addressing concerns and spotting problems. I can't say enough nice things about the crew and staff. They all seemed very happy More
to work there. If a particular bar did not have my beer of choice, they would either send some one ( running) to get it from another bar, or call around the ship to see where we could find it. If a food item went untouched at a sit down restaurant, they asked if we wanted something else.
The excursions were ridiculously expensive. My wife & I chose to rent a car at most of the stops and do our own thing, which was about a fourth of the cost and made us happy. And no, the cruise ship is not going to help you go it alone. But the wonderful people of Greece were more than accommodating. It took a little research and time on my end. But it made it worth it. 2 of the stops we had nothing lined up and were able jump in a rental car and go pretty quickly. The katakolon express to ancient olympia was the only tour we did. I booked them online ahead of time for a fraction of what the ship charged. They were fantastic.
The food was about what I expected with some pleasant surprises. We did not eat in any of the specialty restaurants. The two main dining rooms served the same food and the menus were the same each day but offered daily specials. The food was ok. Nothing was served cold, we did not have to wait long to eat, and the service was good. The buffets occasionally had better tasting fare than the sit down restaurants. The Greek buffet that was served pool side one night had the best tasting fare.
The kids on board: Yes there were a lot of kids onboard. The ship has a kids program that our daughter loved. If you don't want to be on a ship with children, don't pick one with an extensive kids program.
The cabin was small. I'm glad we had a balcony.
Cruising in general: I'm not sure that I'd go on another cruise. 5 hours in santorini hardly does the island justice. I would rather have visited fewer ports and spent at least 2 days at each. For me, the first day of vacation in a new spot you feel out of sorts trying to figure the place out. The last day your preoccupied with leaving. Well , every day in port is both of those days at the same time. Not very relaxing. Now I could not have dragged my family if 3 to Greece any cheaper than it cost on the cruise. But it was a definite compromise. If you are a DIY who doesn't like to feel rushed to take the pre packaged route, a cruise might not be for you. But if I do cruise again, I would choose Norwegian. Less
Norwegian Jade Cruises to the Western Mediterranean