We are seasoned cruisers and this was our second cruise this year, we cruised Alaska last year with NCL on the Sun which was AWFUL so this was NCLs last chance to prove to us that last years cruise was not a true reflection of NCL. Are we convinced? Not exactly....
Embarkation. Embarkation at Southampton was easy but due to the hot weather it was queue after queue after queue and because of the heat it was very stuffy and alot of people were complaining due to no refreshments on sale and no seats! I think because of the heat this could have been organised better as it made me feel quite sick by the time we got on board, but despite this parking was easy and it was great to walk to the cruise terminal in a few minutes we could even see our car from the ship.
We had an outside cabin our cabin was near the front of the ship this we WOULD NOT advise it was soooooooo noisy especially early mornings when your coming into port you here everything so for this reason we would not recommend cabins near the front of the ship. Our cabin size was fine not the largest we've had however the bathroom had a great walk in shower but the bathroom was spit into 3 parts the shower, the sink area and the toilet. The shower was fab however because it was sectioned out the toilet area I found very claustrophobic. Our cabin steward as always was great.
Service. Service is NCLs biggest downfall we think because they are so inconsistant some service was great some not so great. Our biggest problem regarding the service was the main dining room "Grand Pacific" our first evening there was huge queue when we got there and were told we would have to wait approx 45mins for a tble so we went elsewhere. The following day we tried to book a table and couldn t so we took our chances and we were succesful and we were shown straight to a table for 2. Our meal didn't start well when the waitress knocked the bread roll out of hand she did apologise but on other ships we have been on this would have been replaced and it wasn't she didn t even offer to replace it. Our drinks order wasn't taken so eventually when we received our main course I asked to order some drinks but sdaly our drinks didn't arrive until we were having our desert. They threw the food at you tring to force you out and turn the tables quickly, because of this they mixed up our order and 2 tables next to us had a mix up with their orders also 1 table even sent the food back because it was cold. My recommendation avoid the Grand Pacific and go straight to Alizar restaurant much more relaxed and much better service. I think this is the only problem with freestyle because there is no set seating it does compromise the service and be prepared to wait up to an hour for a table at busy periods.
Food. We didn't eat in the speciality restaurants this time but we did last year on The Sun and it was nice to have other options. The food on this cruise was good lots of choice and it was nice to be able to sit out on deck 12 at the garden cafe watching the world go by. The buffet is always busy but it is on every ship we have been on but the selection available on The Jade was excellent.
Entertainment. Entertainment on The Jade was ok princess shows are much better in our opinion however there was an acrobatic act who were excellent possibly the best show I have ever seen on any ship your in for a treat if you get to see them.
Summary. We paid £189 each for an outside cabin which was excellent value for money and we had a good time would we cruise NCL again have they converted us? For a short mini cruise like this one absolutely for our main holiday definitely not the service is to inconsistent and after experiencing freestyle cruising twice we have decided we like cruises that are a little more formal such as RCI and Celebrity etc. There were a few hen and stag parties on board but they were well behaved and didn't cause any problems but this type of mini cruise unfortunately does attract these crowds which is a shame in our opinion. All in all it was great value for money however our cruise later on this year will definitely not be with NCL it will be with RCI or celebrity but this is our opinion and down to personal taste. One tip shore excursions terribly expensive try and organise your own excursion when you get into port you could save yourself a fortune!