My wife and I have cruised many times over the years with varied Cruise Lines but I have to say up until now this cruise on the Norwegian Jade must be the best cruise we have ever experienced, just wonderful! Once I grasped that most of the crew were Filipino I was more than glad. Our experiences with these natives of the Philippines has always been fond with their smiling faces and subservient demeanor contributing to make the cruise noteworthy.
Embarkation was very smooth and speedy, no more than 10 minutes which was so different from our last cruise which took an outrageous 4 hours to embark [MSC]We were escorted to our suite by our Butler the wonderful Teresa [Mamma T] This was the first time that we have taken advantage of an owners suite and we found the accommodation everything that we had expected, pretty amazing! with all the room you need to spread out and kick your shoes off, the Queen sized bed, floor to ceiling views from your window and spacious toilets! I have heard it say many times that the cabins are only for sleeping in but once experiencing an owners suite, for us this was the ultimate in cruising comfort! Those of us who have tried to bend down to pick up the soap in the shower in a standard cabin will appreciate what I am talking about!!!!!
This was our very first cruise with NCL with the concept of total free style dining, the rules scrapped with no formal evenings seated at a fixed first or second sitting. We have had experience of freestyle dining when cruising with Princess Cruises in the past but they do offer the option of a fixed table, which we had much preferred. But I have to say we have no problem with this style of cruising. Choosing from up to 13 restaurants and dining rooms you do not have to pre-book your table but, because the speciality restaurants are so very special with quite superb food, therefore It is a good idea to reserve your preferred time at your restaurant of choice, just as you would do at home. Even waltzing in any time we never had to wait any longer than two minutes to be seated. There is an acceptable varied cover charge at the majority of the restaurants with the exception of 4 which still offer International cuisine. Our favourite was the Gourmet French Signature Restaurant Le Bistro.
The theatre entertainment on board was the usual mixture of Showtime revues, comedy and magic. I was pleased that there was an orchestra on board as a good orchestra can heighten the enjoyment of the show and this one certainly did. The Showtime dancers were all gifted with great voices and performed wonderful shows but, the females were quite different and out of the ordinary.Let us just say that they were never that far away from dining room!!!! The resident comedian was very funny when the audience were participating and was more of a story teller which was a big part of his act, but I have to say his joke material was quite weak! The magician was excellent, although no big props my jaw dropped a few times with his neat dexterous and skillful presentation. We never had the pleasure of experiencing other entertainment lounges on board so I feel I can not comment.
There were the usual mixture of on board activities on the cruising days which I am sure were of interest to the other passengers but we only attended the quiz sessions along with companions we met on board who also enjoyed he excellent brain numbing questions!!!
The itinerary was the Canaries & Morocco route with a good selection of excursions at all ports of call. We purchased the Casablanca Highlights as well as the Agadir Highlights, both were well organized,interesting and reasonably priced. We did our own thing at Las Palmas, Madeira and Malaga with free shuttle buses made available which was a plus as this is not always the case with other cruise lines!
This cruise was so special because of the wonderful fellow passengers we met, the brilliant crew members who all contributed towards our dream cruise but I feel I have to mention one in particular; The Concierge Ruth Hagger who was just sparkling at her job and was certainly influential in making our cruise on Norwegian Jade exciting and memorable.