Having enjoyed last year's cruise on Jade, round the British Isles, we knew that this was the cruise line for us, without all the formality we had found on other lines. We booked directly with NCL UK, which meant we had to go to Spain 2 days early to fit in with flights from the small airport of Newcastle, with KLM via Amsterdam. Luckily they'd cleared the runway of snow! So, with 2 short hops we were in the transport to the Confortel, where we met many other passengers. We discovered a bar 3 doors down run by Steve from Newcastle, so that became our base. The 1 year old hotel is in the bohemian quarter, being redeveloped, and is 5 blocks from the sea front, which is where we spent the rest of our time. As others have said, everything about the transport and embarkation is efficient and even pleasant!
This time we had an aft cabin with an enormous balcony containing a sadly underused sunbed. We are not great "foodies", so most of our meals were taken in the buffet,where the curry counter is the main attraction. Although we are normally "sugar free", our resolve broke down when we checked the daily hot puddings, and the temptation of brown sugar on our porridge was too much! We did eat in Le Bistro and Pappa's with the 2 for's offer, and caused consternation at refusing dessert. The meals there were very good, and worth the extra. The wines were extremely expensive, and of average taste at around London 5* prices. The entertainment was superb-several nights we saw three shows, with Lennie Windsor, "Shout" and the Marionettes being the stars-and, of course, Second City-even if the improvisations occasionally didn't work, it was fascinating working out why, and the applause would be for trying!
The sea days were not too good, although we kept up with the captain by visiting the bridge viewing room, and enjoyed the German fests with oompah band in the Garden. The only ship's trips we did were to see Ephesus in the cold-such a contrast to the normal thousands of visitors in blistering heat, and a morning trip round Alexandria, which was fairly miserable in the rain and flooding. We were taken to Farouk's palace, and then shown the tourist area at the beach-think the Spanish Costas in 1960.....For the rest we mainly strolled around sampling the local wines or beers. We were very happy with this cruise, which appeared to have overcome the problems of Jade's 1st months in Europe; everything was that little bit smoother, prompter, and friendlier. The staff have jelled together and were to be seen laughing and joking-even bursting into song. It was enough for us to cancel our next cruise with a British run company and place a deposit on another NCL.