We travelled first time on NCL as part of a train and cruise journey in July 2013. We have never used NCL before and only travelled on P&O. The Norwegian Jade offered freestyle dining, a good idea and doesn't restrict to certain times or sittings. The overall opinion was this cruise ship is ok for casual holiday but certainly not a luxury cruise class and lacks the style and finesse of other ships. The excellent staff and the food were definite highlights. The staff courteous and friendly and ship always very clean. The main restaurant Grand Pacific is very nice although the menu was a bit same every day with notable exceptions. It's better to pay a little extra as we did and choose specialty restaurants such as the amazing Teppanyaki which was a delight and spectacle to watch as the chefs prepared food at the table and very nice fresh seafood and meat to eat. . The French bistro and Cagneys steak house very good as was the Italian. Deck buffets and breakfasts varied and plentiful.
The deck space on the Jade was a problem. There were just too many people and finding a sun lounger difficult. It could have done with another pool as there were only 2. They should either move or get rid of the underused basketball court and add another pool. Also Teppanyaki restaurant should move upstairs near open decks as it harbours coking smells on the lower decks.
What was really lacking was some nice bars, generally they were a bit bland or slightly tacky with neon signs. The entertainment was particularly poor. Bad singers by the pool , the pianist only good one amongst them and there was only one bar at front with DJ but te music was either line dancing or Europop! We didn't attend the shows although reports from other passengers were not too favourable. There is a great at the top of the ship but sadly underused and only services Cagneys for drinks.
Note like many cruise lines 15% service charge added to drinks in addition to 12 dollars a day pp for cabin and restaurant staff although the latter can be adjusted or removed .
Cabin outside and space quite good and no complaints as very clean.
Ports of all were great, Croatia well worth a visit , Venice always charming although avoid summer as too busy. Athens good, Izmir ok. A different holiday for us as we used the train from London to Venice but would probably select a better liner for our tastes next time and with less kids on board. There were apparently 700 out of 2400 passengers.