I sometime wonder if I go on different cruises on different ships to other people when I read their views - but each to their own.
I have just come back from a wonderful holiday on the Jade.
Made all the better by a great itinnery - Canaries and Morocco, good company and sunshine (all us Brits are suffering from a Vitamin D deficiency at the moment!)
So here goes
Flight out BA Heathrow to Barcelona ok, transfer to the port fine, check in was busy, but being Lattitudes we breezed through.
We were given the letter to read about Norovirus, but I was already aware of it have kept up to date on the web sites, we then has to wait for boarding - which was some time after two pm and there wasn't much room to wait, there were a few shops to wander around (and you have done all the security screening you are going to do).
I missed my glass of Fizz as I walked on board, but never mind. Headed straight up to the buffet as we were hungry and had been travelling all day, but that was mistake as it was heaving. Really we should have wondered around and got ourselves re-aquainted with the ship as an hour or so later it was much better. Of course it was worse as this was the first most people had seen of the serving policy, which we perfectly understood.
We got our cabins at about 4 pm and it was great (a mini suite - complete with a bottle of fizz and chocolate dipped strawberries as we had booked the anniversary package). These are great cabins, with lots of space and storage.
Great choice, yes it's a bit a annoying having to wait to be served in the buffet, but perfectly understandable and to be honest on our previous cruises I had been quite disgusted with some folks behaviour with touching food and putting it back (fruit and bread in particular) that it was good to see, you quickly learnt the ropes and identified the quicker drinks stations etc.
We ate a couple of nights in the buffet, once in the Bistro, once in the Tex Mex, once in Cagney's and once in the Tappenyaki all were very good. Bistro came as part of the anniversary package but would be well worth the $20 cover charge, Tex Mex ok but to be honest wouldn't bother again, Cagney's and Teppenyaki both superb.
Also ate in the Grand Pacific a couple of occasions - never had to wait longer than 20 minutes (with the pager being given to us) and always had great meals.
Make sure you go to the chocolate buffet, not to eat but to take the photo's
Saw Smokey Joes Cafe - great music and singers, all Leiber and Stoller songs, but no story line. Shout was a great show and I would highly recommend. The other acts we saw were Gary Lavini, a violinist, this was an amazing show, Forever, an El Divo style male vocalist group who again were great and finally Gina Pontini, I missed her evening show but saw her lunch time Jazz session in the Atrium which was good.
We went to the white Hot Party and felt that was very cheesy and borderline sleazy
They are working extremely hard, especially with the buffet service, and it was rare we saw a glum face, and some folk were just so rude to them, some of theri jobs are such plain boring so chat to them. The two that looked after our cabin were great, always smiling and welcoming and couldn't do enough for us.
The ships management team were very visible, more so than I have seen on any other ship (this was our 5th cruise), very approachable and wanting to help and were very open at the M&G.
The niggles, not many but here goes; -
Reception staff, they just didn't seem to want to help, silly little things like you had to go their for shuttle bus tickets, but only one person selling them and you had to wait for her! My sister had a problem with her OBC and it took a lot of persistence to get it sorted and then no apology. However, when she raised this with Armando the Hotel Manager he put that right. Generally the attitutude of the reception staff needs to buck up as this is the area you go to if you have a query or a complaint and they were not welcoming.
Shuttle buses, when you need to use one to get out of the port area like in Agadir I think they should be free, we paid $8 each in Agadir (the taxi alternatively looked awful) and the quality of the coach was appalling - badly cracked windscreen and filthy on the way out and the one on the way back the suspension felt as though it was on its last legs.
Also in the Bistro when we booked it, a couple of days in advance we asked if we could reserve a particular table and that was not possible. But as it happened we got the table we wanted on the night anyway, but really this should be possible.
But overall a great cruise, with the staff working very very had to keep sanitizing us and keeping everything clean.
Would I cruise with NCL again - definitely, in fact I still have 1 cruise reward to use in the future, but I think it is a real shame that there are no 2 or 3 night cruises out of the UK as I would be n the front of the queue for these. i