We have recently returned from a 6 night cruise on the Jade. Did not start of too well due to the size of the cabin. We had booked an inside cabin which could sleep 4 (we had our teenage daughter with us). This cabin is one of the smallest we have stayed in with literally no room to swing a cat. Yes I know you get what you pay for but it is certainly not designed for adults to share and I would suggest that you upgrade to a bigger cabin. We did try to move cabins but the ship was full.
Mealtimes in the buffet areas was a nightmare. Extremely busy and it is difficult to find space to sit and enjoy your meal. We tried to eat lunch slightly later but it was still busy and you spent more time looking for a table than actually eating. Folk are happy to share tables which we ended up doing. We also observed folk helping themselves from the buffet using their hands and not the serving implements provided.
We had a lovely meal at Cagneys. The food was fantastic, great atmosphere and attentive staff. They somehow managed to find out that it was my birthday (nothing to do with hubby) and presented me with a rousing serenade of happy birthday and a cheese cake.
This ship is obviously popular with families. My 16yr old said this was the best teens club she had been to out of our cruises. There were lots of children who liked to run everywhere even along corridors to cabins.
Entertainment was excellent, especially Adam James, staff were helpful and the ship spotless.
Now the ports:
We arranged our own transfer from Marco Polo airport to the cruise terminal. We chose to use the Alilaguna (public water bus, blue line) which costs 15 euros each one way. This took nearly 2 hours to get the port which was longer than we anticipated but after an early morning start allowed us to finally relax. You really cannot take photos on the Alilaguna as the windows are pretty dirty. However you have lots of photo opportunities when the ship sails. The transport system is easy to use in Venice. There is also left luggage storage in Piazzale Roma which we used. However it is really busy and fills up quickly. It costs 7 euros per item of luggage.
Dubrovnik is very easy to do on your own. The bus stop is on the main street in front of the cruise terminal.The kiosk beside the bus stop sells bus tickets for 12 kuna. Bus 1A or 1B will take you to the Pile Gate in the old town. You cannot miss this stop as it is the terminus. This is the same stop where you catch the bus to return to ship. It costs 90 kuna to enter the wall and the views are amazing. There are kiosks and cafes if you need a drink on the way round.
Unfortunately due to a strike in Athens it was decided that we would instead stop in Iraklion in Crete. We decided to take the HOHO bus to Knossos (Minoan civilization). To exit the port turn right and walk and there are HOHO buses waiting. It cost 15 euros each(instead of 20) and this gave you a tour of the town, brief history and dropped you off at Knossos. Knossos was intereting but very busy. 6 euro entry unless you are a child or have a student card in which it is free. Iraklion has bars and shoppping areas in the centre.
Katakolon (Olympia). We decided to pre book the excursion to Olympia with Katakolon Express http://www.katakolon-express.com/olympiaonyourown.htm
It cost 10 euros each and the bus was there to meet you at the port and took you to Olympia. Steven was a fantastic guide on the coach and gave lots of information about Olympia and the surrounding area. We had plenty of time to visit Olympia. We were able to be dropped off in Katakolon on the way back which has some lovely bars/restaurants and shops.
I routinely use the forum for advice when planning my cruise and thought it was about time that I left hopefully some helpful information.