I chose this cruise because the itinerary included Dubrovnik, Croatia. Dubrovnik has been on my bucket list for many years. Other ports of call were Koper, Slovenia; Split, Croatia; Messina, Sicily; and Naples, Italy. We had great weather and very calm seas. I was travelling solo on this cruise, so I was happy that I met some other singles at the Meet and Mingle set up through our Roll Call on Cruise Critic. I arrived in Venice the day before the cruise and stayed at the Best Western Olimpia which was a short walk to the People Mover to the ship. The hotel was quite pleasant and served a good breakfast in the morning.
Embarkation: Embarking took about ten minutes. I should say that I am a Latitudes member and was shown to a different check-in with no line.
Public Rooms: NCL ships are bright and colorful! The Atrium was cheerful and lively with piano music each night. Other public areas are cheerful as well.
Dining: Of all the different cruise lines I have been on, I think NCL has the best buffets. There is a good variety and the food tastes good. The set-up of the buffet is a lot easier to navigate than on other ships. Another gem on the Jade and other NCL ships is the Blue Lagoon. It's open 24 hours a day and has light meals such as wings, burgers, fish and chips. There are two main dining rooms, the Grand Pacific and Alizar. NCL has open seating, which I prefer. If there is a back-up, you'll be given a beeper and a voucher for a glass of champagne while you wait. I don't think we ever waited more than 20 minutes to be seated. The food was good and well presented, but there were no shrimp cocktails offered and no escargot.
Cabin: NCL ships have the best showers! They are spacious and have glass doors instead of those annoying shower curtains. I had a balcony cabin which was great. There was ample closet and drawer space, but the desk area was a little small.
Service: The cabin stewards were great as always. Other staff in the buffet and dining rooms were always smiling and would greet you with a smile. The ship was clean and well kept.
Itinerary: This was a demanding itinerary with only one sea day. However, the ports were all interesting and I enjoyed all of them. I took shore excursions in each port with exception of Dubrovnik. In Dubrovnik I "walked the wall". Dubrovnik is completely surrounded by a wall. On top of the wall, you can walk around the entire city. It sounds easy, but the mile and a quarter walk has 1080 steps to climb. The views from the wall were spectacular!
Debarkation: Debarkation was painless. I took my own bags off the ship and was through customs in about 5 minutes. I took an NCL bus to the airport where I had plenty of time before my 11:30 AM flight.
Summary: This was a great cruise on a great ship. There were wonders to see in all the ports. In Slovenia, I loved Lake Bled. In Split, Croatia, I loved walking around the beautiful seaside village of Split. Dubrovnik was my favorite, but it was a hard pick. In Messina, Sicily, I took the tour to two small villages where scenes from the Godfather movies were filmed. In Naples, I went to Sorrento and Pompeii. Looking back, it was a wonderful cruise and it was made better by the friends I met through our Roll Call on Cruise Critic.