Boarding the Jade was smooth and fairly fast. Rooms not ready til 4pm, poke around the ship, lots to see. The Hawaiian decor needs to go away, not fitting for Europe. Come on NCL spend some cash and make it European!
Getting port entry approval cost us some valuable time in Greece and a nightmare in Egypt. I would think NCL would have a better relationship with these officials than on our cruise. lost over a half day in Egypt, causing lots of tours to be cancelled, a real sad story for so many. Don't think things will go smoothly and all ports to be visited will operate as scheduled.
Specialty restaurants we visited, Jasmine and the Tapas restaurant were not worthy of a extra fee. Service was poor and the food only mediocre. The Teppanyaki Rest. was filled every night and got a great score from what we heard.
The stops in Egypt: Be very cautious here with your money, watch your wallet and be very mindful of the beggars: They are very aggressive here and at the Pyramids especially, they think we're all wealthy and should pay them for everything, be mindful of the free gifts they offer, they only later will bug you til you give them something. We did not feel we were adequately prepared for the hassles at the Pyramids by the guide on the bus, a ship sponsored trip. The guide is in with all the beggars, they get a cut of the camel riding, (which can be done for as little as $2, but I paid $10)They are also in on the purchasing of the lovely Kartouche that so many ladies buy. They deal with a specific shop in Cairo. This shop supposedly is authorized by NCL as a credible place to buy, HOWEVER, we learned later that the Kartouche's can be purchased for MUCH LESS in town, Alexandria, or Cairo, by shopping on your own. Just understand that there's always more than one way to buy Gold in Egypt. Just be sure to see the small stamp from the Govt. on the jewelry.
The ship did a good job of keeping us sprayed with hand sanitizer. The ONE thing that really agitated me was after getting ON the ship we get a letter in our stateroom that was offering us the option to cancel this cruise and reschedule another at a later date due to the fact that the ship was experiencing a high number of H1N1, and stomach flu. What are you supposed to do at this point? We've already taken leave time from work, already flown to Barcelona...what are we to do at that time. I would say a high number of passengers would have no option but to stay on the ship and bite the bullet as we did. I did get sick one 24 hour period , was seen in the ship's hospital and treated at an expense of $167, which is in the process with the insurance .
We would love to see more seminars on the local lifestyle of each port, rather than so much attention to buying jewelry, art. That is not why I go on a cruise. Who goes on a cruise to buy expensive art, jewelry that no can afford if they are on a n NCL budget trip. The cabin and attendants were super, the room always looked after, and those darling towel foldings!
Overall we got where we wanted to go, but I would not choose this ship again. The food was a disappointment, some occasionally good but overall, not up to others we cruised...Princess and Royal Caribbean. I hope I have pointed out some good and helpful info. Happy cruising!