This was my 3rd NCL cruise, first time on the Jade. We picked this cruise for the ports as last year we were on the Spirit. This was also a fantastic cruise, but back to Jade.
Embarkation out of venice went very smoothly, although very cold. We arrived early at the port as we had to be out of our venice apartment at 10am. We waited in the terminal maybe 20mins to 1/2 hour before we were allowed to board the ship. Our party of 4 went straight to the main dining room for lunch, which was very good. After lunch we were allowed to go to our cabins. Our balcony cabin had more than enough space for my husband and myself. Plenty of storage, bathroom size was fine and the bed very comfortable. Travelling out of venice was a dream. The reason I choose balcony cabins is so that I can enjoy the magnificent sights coming into and leaving the various ports.
The staff were very friendly and helpful. Our cabin stewards Laurence and Alexander were top notch and Leo the bartender was absolutely brilliant. Thanks again.
Dining: We ate in the main dining room most of the time. Breakfast was brilliant there without having all the hustle and bustle of the buffet. The buffet was also very good just a lot busier. We ate at 5 specialty dining rooms. Moderno, Cagneys, Le Bistro, Italian and Teppinyaki. All were very good and the staff extremely polite.
Ports: All were great and we were lucky enough to have warm, clear days. Santorini was exceptional and we were on the island to watch the sunset, which really has to be seen. My biggest surprise was Izmir. We took a tour to Ephesus and the House of the Virgin Mary. I was not expecting much from this port but it was amazing, interesting and moving.
The only NCL excursion was the disembarkation day to Padua and then dropped at the airport, all others we did through cruising excursions. Disembarkation day was delayed as we had very heavy fog coming into Venice. I did hear a lot of rumbles from other passengers about the delay, but it was by no means NCL fault and they were doing their upmost to get people off the boat to meet flights.
I would definitely recommend this ship and itinerary. My husband and I are looking forward to our next NCL cruise, hopefully it will be in Australia. That was a hint NCL come down under.