If only NCL spent a little less money on their great advertising, they could give a lot more attention to basics on the Norwegian Jade. After months of planning and anticipating a delightful Mediterranean cruise, we were initially and continuously dismayed by the ship's Aloha theme...Hawaiian King holding court in the Grand Pacific dining room, with its Hawaiian dancing, shelling, and beach murals, gaudy giant iridescent flower chandeliers, and fish, shell, and wave carpeting....would YOU think you are in the Mediterranean? Why not just white-wash the murals and put up some beautiful big posters of all the wonderful ports....along with a print or two by Picasso or Renoir or Matisse, instead of a stylized fish on our cabins' walls!! All that ridiculous Hawaiian decor contributed mightily to the surprisingly dingy feeling on the 3-year old ship. On other ships we didn't feel so claustrophobic. The Jade's ceilings seemed pretty low. Next, the restaurant staff.....after our first 24 More
hours of very disappointing main dining room service, we spoke to the head of the restaurants, and from then on, we were treated well. The food left alot to be desired, except for the one night we paid the extra cover charge to eat at Le Bistro (which was outstanding). So back in the main dining room, we were watched over by Gary, the Maitre'd, Valentina his assistant, and our favorite waitress, Mavel, whose table we asked for every night thereafter. Also, Flora, the sommelier, was very attentive to our friends.
The Entertainment staff was among the best. Karen, the Cruise Director was very visible, friendly, and did an excellent job of hosting the evening shows. The Jade's performers were very talented, and we especially liked Marissa Rosen, who played "The Red Girl", in "Shout! The Musical", and other roles in the ship's productions. Our mini-suite was adequate, and our steward, Lilybeth was really good. (And she did leave us those well-done towel animals with her turn-down service.) The fitness center was a kind of disappointment.....the bank of treadmills had at least 4 roped off - were they being reserved for the high-suite folks? - and always had several with "out of order" signs. So if you didn't get up there before 7am, you had to wait. Also, each apparatus had a little note to use the germicide after using it...which I always did, as I carried the wipes with me...but I never saw anyone else doing it, not even an attendant (who was not visible after the first day). The spa was a big let-down, as I was looking forward to a relaxing massage...so on the first day, there was an offer of 20% discount for booking an appointment then but the spa manager argued with me about it, and so I never had the massage..(big turn-off....she was the nastiest, but this is a contracted facility, not run by NCL - THEY SHOULD THINK TWICE ABOUT THIS COMPANY). Also, my friend and I were quoted prices for our hair appointments by a rep inviting interest, and so we signed up. When it was time to pay, our charges were increased by more than 20%.
One of our biggest disappointments on our cruise was not the fact that there were over 850 vacationing children onboard, but that a lot of them were at many times, TOTALLY UNSUPERVISED. We saw many who WERE well-behaved, but the ones we were bothered by were those who were constantly running up and down corridors, obstinately sitting in public hallways blocking stairs, and running along the pool decks where there were many wet areas. NO PARENTS OR SECURITY STAFF SPOKE UP.....we heard a number of folks making a point of saying "I will never cruise on NCL again" because of this. Also, even though in the cruise "rules", one is told NOT to place beach towels on deck lounges at the crack of dawn, to save them for the hour or so they might use them later in the day, this "rule" was ignored by both guests and security. So consequently, for the 14-day cruise, we and our friends were only out on lounges 2 DAYS!!!!!!! PORT AND SHOPPING INFORMATION: The NCL lectures were always slanted toward not trusting any other touring sources toward getting you back to the ship on time. Their "scare tactics" about unreliable train schedules, and passengers missing the ship on previous cruises, caused many of us to go ahead and book the NCL tours, which were overwhelmingly over-priced. The following are a few more points that were disappointing ..... - The serving tongs at the food buffet were totally useless...more food ended up on the floor, than on one's plate..(you couldn't squeeze them together!) - Many glasses and cups had chips that could cut your lip - A $10. fee for changing money was very unreasonable; it should be a courtesy - Internet rates were ridiculous, & $3.95 sign-on fee was not noted beforehand. Less
Norwegian Jade Cruises to the Western Mediterranean
This was my favorite port. I had pre-arranged a tour that worked out great. We went to the home of Renoir, and stood in his atelier......I was overwhelmed with the beauty of the setting.....on a hill with olive trees, overlooking the Mediterranean. There were a number of his paintings there, as well as his furnishings - dining room table and breakfront, chairs, interesting to see his big bathroom!!!!!! I bought a beautiful book at the boutique, which has photos of his home, early contemporaries of his, and some of his works. Then, we went to the Matisse Museum, a magnificent building in a park...there were pieces by Rodin there as well. Had a terrific apple tart at the little snack area there, among the shade trees. Also, we went to the Chagall Museum...this was wonderful, with his very large canvasses and an audio guided tour. Finally, we went to Monaco, and went in the church were Princess Grace was married and buried. Then, saw the amazing yachts in the harbor. It was truly a memorable day.
So easy to see this city without signing up for a tour....you can take the shuttle from the ship,which lets you off right outside the downtown market area. It is a fun place to walk through the beautiful square, and see up the hill to The Rock of Gibraltar. We hired a mini-bus at the taxi stand, and went up the Rock.....saw the apes, and took photos of Morocco across the water. Lovely experience, and we had a great driver who was very informative. Found the Iiadro store - and each couple bought a figurine.
A very beautiful city.......took the bus tour from NCL......stopped at the overlook and took photos.......gorgeous views....pretty buildings, and tiles, and the big church there...our guide told us that the tomb of Vasco de Gamma had his remains there.......but our friend's guide told him that he was NOT buried there!! Took pictures anyway!!
Took one of the NCL tours and saw a lot of Rome from the bus. Walked through the oldest part, and saw the Trevi Fountain.....there were hordes of people there...hard to even get a photo!!!!!! Saw many beautiful squares, including St.Peter's, and thought the aquaducts were interesting. Very lovely city, but not enough time to see it at a leisurely pace. Maybe one day we will go back.