We have just returned from a 14 night cruise on the Norwegian Jade - Norwegian Cruise Lines. They told us that the ship was booked to capacity (2900 passengers)when we embarked.
Here is a breadown of my review:
Ship Info: Well appointed with lots of potential to make the cruise memorable alas this element was missing.
Activities: Sub -standard. Absolutely nothing avaiable for 12-17 year olds which resulted in them jumping off stairs, lying around hallways and rambling aimlessly. There were no Youth Coordinators or any activities to keep these young people busy and happy. They had to entertain themselves.
Service: DISMAL. For example staff would clear tables and not even wipe them. Poorly trained and not motivated to provide a great experience. Great people who are there to make a living. However, it is clear there is NO Passion in what they do nor is the Cruise Line invested in provding quality training.
Ports and Excursions: Prohibitevley expensive from the ship and the Cruise Line makes sure you do not have any opportunity to learn about doing it yourself. We were fortunate that we met some great people on the cruise and with the collective research we had done, we were able to do excursions via hiring taxis outside the port, hon-on-hop off buses etc at a fraction of the price that the Cruise offers. Infact Norwegian keeps warning you that there is a risk in not taking their excursions. They tell you that there is no fear of missing the ship if you go on their excursion. We found it was very easy to do the excursions on our own,however, we had to learn the hard way. ee met many people who had done the ship- excursion and were quite miffed that there was not enough info provided to passengers about do it yourself options.
Dining: There were only 3 dining options that were included in the price for 2900 passengers, 1 was a buffet that literally had the same food for 14 days with a few variations in the carving stations. The other 2 restaurants had identical menus every night. As it was freestyle you did not have seatings, however,if you dined between 6-7 pm there was usually a wait between 15-45 minutes. If you tried to reservice after 10 they generally told you the reservations were full. If you reserved and did not show up or changed your mind, you could be charged $5, ofcourse the courtesy of telling ytou to clal them or advising that your table would only be kept upto 5 minutes of reservation time was not a option as money is their prime motivator. All of their other restuartants had a cover charge to enter.
The buffet is just no equipped to serve 2900 passengers and they know this so many passengers end up going to the paying restaurants as they could not handle the food in the buffet or other 2 restaurants.
The food was sub standard. If you are used to good quality food, you will be disappointed. The presentation at the restaurants was good. The only fruit you got at the buffet was melons, orange apples. No berries, papays etc. If it was cheap, they made it available. Yet when someone complained they got an incredible assortment of berries.
The cruise entertainment was so bad that we had to rely on passengers for entertainment. What amazed me was that there were fully booked and yet could not invest in top quality on board entertainment. Some of the acts they brought on board were fanastic and so were the production crew. However the entertainment crew (the ones that walk around all day and lead the games, karoke etc) were pathetic. They just could not relate to the audience and did not have the talent to engage and entertain a crowd. An 5 start all inclusive resort in Mexico would outshine them 100%. The teenagers had absolutley nothing to keep them engaged and you know what idle minds do particularly on a 14 day cruise!!
The dj music was horrible, Great for the 55-70 year age grounp but nothing for the 20-50 year old group.
NCL does not give you comment cards for reviews. I think they are smart and know what this would mean. Rather they advise you to write in or that you may be randomly surveyed!
I know this is speaking from a personal perspective, however, i can only say that we met tons of people on the ship that categorically stated they would never cruise on this ship or with NCL. The alcohol was overpriced and you pretty much had to pay for every single thing on the ship. No juices were available after breakfast and soda was for a fee.
Please read all the critic reviews as they are reality. I did so prior to my cruise however as I had already booked it, I was in denial and thought the critics were overboard. I now know better.