Become a Cruise Insider
Tips, deals and more in your inbox.
Your Ultimate Cruise Guide

Norwegian Jade Cruise Review by Litehouse9: Mama Mia!! Cruise was Magnifico!!


Litehouse9
3 Reviews
Member Since 2007
139 Posts

Member Rating

Cabin 4.0
Dining 5.0
Embarkation 5.0
Enrichment Activities Not Rated
Entertainment Not Rated
Family & Children Not Rated
Fitness & Recreation 5.0
Public Rooms 5.0
Rates 5.0
Service 5.0
Shore Excursions 5.0
Value for Money 5.0

Compare Prices on Norwegian Jade Europe - Western Mediterranean Cruises

Mama Mia!! Cruise was Magnifico!!

Sail Date: May 2010
Destination: Europe - Western Mediterranean
Embarkation: Barcelona

This was my husband's and my 5th cruise, our first with no children, and my first time in Europe. The trip was to celebrate my 60th birthday, and our 25th wedding anniversary. What a celebration! We loved the cruise, top to bottom, and we absolutely cannot see why some cruisers have given this poor ratings. What's not to like about sun, fun, good wine, Italy, castles, cathedrals, pasta, a clean and beautiful ship, and gorgeous views? Plus we got an excellent price for the cruise as apparently many people had cancelled because of the Iceland volcano and flights being delayed, etc.

I have some arthritis, walk with a cane, severe knee and spinal pain. I was surprised that I was able to do way more than I had hoped for.

***Barcelona: What a vibrant, young, energetic, forward-thinking, artistic, historic, proud City! Do some research, but whatever you decide to see, wherever you decide to eat, you almost cannot go wrong. The city is FULL of excellent restaurants (and More all have similar menus of the same Meditteranean dishes) and great boutique hotels. We flew in 2-1/2 days before ship's departure, and stayed at Hotel Jazz (partly because it was the only one we found that would allow you to cancel up to 24 hours before your booking, with no penalty). Modern, clean, and a very convenient location, close to Plaza Catalunya, Las Ramblas, buses, etc. The staff were wonderfully helpful.

Friday night we had Tapas at Sellers Tapas restaurant, 2 blks from hotel, per recommendation of the staff. Very good. Then we crashed. Had breakfast in the hotel on Sat. as the first morning I had horrible jet lag, and it was so convenient. Took the Hop On, Hop Off ("HoHo") tourist bus and rode all over town, seeing many beautiful parks, landmarks, Gaudi buildings, etc. Stopped at Park Guell.. a must see. Hotels will give you a coupon for a discount on this bus. When the weather is nice, sit up top in the open air on the bus, it's great!

Sat. Eve we celebrated my 60th birthday with dinner at Ristorante Salamanca near the Port-- an excellent recommendation from our taxi driver. They brought a platter of LIVE seafood when we sat down to show us how fresh it was! The place was charming and wonderful—supposedly it is mostly locals who eat here. Had the best salad ever: pickled asparagus, lettuce, tomatoes, jamon, olives, lemon, tossed with olive oil and sherry vinegar. Our seafood platters of langostinos, prawns, shrimp, clams, mussels were superb. The staff served us some homemade Liquer in honor of my birthday. Sunday we went to the Picasso museum, shopped in the Gothic quarter, saw the cathedral, etc. No time to ride the Funicular or hundreds of other activities we wished to do—that is the beauty of a cruise though. You get a "taste" of many places. Those you like, you know you will want to return to (Barcelona, definitely!!)

We took cabs in Barcelona and had all polite, wonderful drivers. Esp. with my gimpy knees (I move slowly) did not want to risk all the crime of the Metro or city buses. Cabs were reasonable, drivers helpful and great. Funny though, all of them had USA-80's rock music on their radios!

If we ever return to Barcelona, we'll stay far away from Las Ramblas—it is super crowded, super noisy, full of thieves, pickpockets, street performers (some of whom entertain & distract you so their pals can rob you), flower stalls, cafes, and cheap souvenir stands. We would like a hotel in the Gothic district near the Cathedral- those are cheaper and nicer!

*** Embarkation: Took a cab to the ship at 3pm Sunday. Luggage whisked away quickly, extremely short wait--we were registered and on our way to our cabin! There are duty free shops on the way, after they have checked your luggage. If you want to buy Soda, wine, booze, now is the time! The clerk at the beverage store said she would "look the other way" and not say a word if we wanted to buy booze and take on board. Since our cabin had a fridge—we bought 8 cans of soda, glad we did.

***The Ship: As others mention—yes the Hawaiian decor seems silly on a Mediterranean cruise. But ship is beautifully decorated, in excellent shape, clean and wonderful. Thought it had the best layout of any cruise we've been on. Loved the Jade. The outdoor dining at the rear of the ship in the buffet was great. Loved that there were "adults only" and "kids only" swimming pools on top. Bar City was great (Champagne Bar, Martini bar, etc.) all in one place. Marcello was an excellent bartender and made us happy. When Alizar was full and a short wait for dinner--we got a pager, went in to Bar City, and 20% discount on any drinks, bottles of wine, etc. purchased during the wait—great deal. If you buy a bottle of wine in the restaurants or at the bar, you get to keep it—whatever you do not drink at time of purchase, you can take bottle with you to your cabin, or to your next dinner, etc. Ended up being a great deal.

***Our Cabin: No. 10048—balcony cabin a little forward of mid-ships. Great location for my gimpy knees. Had a refrigerator and mini bar, plenty of storage, a powerful hair dryer (unlike the wimpy thing on the last boat); and a coffee maker! The bathroom was in 3 sections: Toilet; shower; sink. Bathroom sink had a large, moveable faucet, which made it easier to hand wash a few items. Works great. The room had 2 USA electric plugs, and one European, helped for recharging things, etc. Our cabin stewards: Budianto Sopiiyan and John Manalo, were the best we have ever had, they were excellent. Many excellent views from the balcony.

***Food: We've done all the specialty restaurants on previous cruises--felt no need to do any again except Teppanyaki, as that one is SO delish and fun (like a Benihanas, they cook on a grill in front of you), but it was full each night! If you want to eat here, book ASAP! The ship has 2 main dining rooms: the large Grand Pacific was gorgeous (and yes, very Hawaiian). The Alizar had the same menu, and was closer to our cabin. Due to my gimpy knees, we ate there most nights as it was a shorter walk—we loved the darker, quieter, smaller, more "intimate" feel of Alizar. Others prefer the bigger, fancier Grand Pacific.

We loved the food. Yes, hit or miss. The Rack of Lamb, Beef Wellington, Shrimp tempura, hot turkey dinner, swordfish and shrimp brochettes were all excellent! A few entrees, not so much. Big deal. I did not have to shop for the food, chop it, dice it, peel it, saute it, or clean up after it. I sat at a table with white linen cloths, was waited on hand and foot, and got to just relax and enjoy. SO what's not to like???? Salmon was on the menu every night—so moist and yummy! The desserts were also wonderful... many sugar free ones were just great. Most of the appetizers were A+.

Some complain about the small portions. Are you kidding me?!!? Why should the ship WASTE food? Yes portions are small—but you can have TWO ENTREES (or three!); 2 appetizers, 2 desserts. The ship wants you to be happy. Rather than waste food serving everyone a huge portion.. they make them small and if you are hungry—have MORE than ONE! They are happy to do so. Most nights we had two appetizers: Ceasar salad and one other from the changing menu. On two nights we had 2 entrees each. Go for it! Enjoy! They are happy to bring them to you! The scallops and cheese grits entree was rather small (but delicious!) so I also had a steak that night.

"Dress Up or Not" night is Friday, which is also Lobster night. You get one small, but whole, Lobster tail plus some Monkfish. We could not resist and also ordered Beef Wellington- both entrees delicious. We "dressed up" by wearing our "good levis". That is about as much as we care to do... the dress code is now relaxed so that the only no-no's are: no flip flops, no shorts, no tank tops. Levis are okay.

***Breakfast: Ate in the Grand Pacific restaurant on first day—we love being waited on, sitting at a table with linen cloths, and choosing off a menu (eggs benedict, omelets, bagels and salmon, lots of choices!!), rather than fighting through the crowds at the buffet. Lovely. The other days our tours started so early, we had room service-- no charge (cereal, yogurt, coffee, juice and sweetrolls). On the sea day, we slept in, and then ate outdoors at the buffet at the rear of the ship—very pleasant.

***Entertainment: Are you kidding? Who had time? We went on tours that started at 7am and got us back to the boat at 6pm. We were tired. We enjoyed a drink or two, then had dinner (usually between 8:30 to 9:30pm) then went to bed.

*** Ports of Call:

***Monaco - Day One: Due to upcoming Grand Prix, had to tender at an unfamiliar place--took some time. We went on a ship's tour,and had fun. Excellent guide. Drove all the way to Nice, as well as Eze, France. Drove thru Monte Carlo, many beautiful views. Stopped at a perfume factory, and I bought some lovely French soaps. Many HUGE yachts in port coming to watch Grand Prix. Shopped and walked around. Unfortunately, many streets were closed due to the upcoming car race.

***Florence - Day Two: We met some lovely people on Cruise Critic prior to the cruise. One of them arranged a "Rome in Limo" tour of Florence, and then Rome next day. We got very lucky as we all got along great and had a wonderful time together.

WOW! Fabrizzio was our RomeinLimo guide for Firenze (Florence)--the absolute most EXCELLENT tour guide ever! A+++!! Picked us up at the bottom of ship's gangway at 7am. Spent 10 hours in his air conditioned limo, seeing so many things- he was the most charming, lovely, friendly, knowlegeable tour guide ever. Fabrizzio had tickets for everywhere—no waiting in line! He formed the tour around what the 8 of us wanted to. Cost was roughly $130 euros per COUPLE; much cheaper than the ship's tours. Only 8 of us, plenty of leg room. His limo was able to go on most all streets of Florence (Unlike the huge ship's tour buses). Dropped us off as close as possible and picked us up (my gimpy knees appreciated it). He bought us gifts-- went by a bakery and got us all a fresh-from-the-oven slices of Italian olive oil foccacia. When we had lunch in a cafe and it started to rain, he brought us umbrellas! He was awesome.

We started with tour of Tuscan countryside--Beautiful! Fields of chianti grapes, and every hill with a mideval fort or castle. Then the Tower of Pisa, the Duomo, Pont D'vecchio, the Academia ("David" statue, gorgeous!); Florence food market, shops, town wall, etc. and many other things. Thanks, RomeinLimo and Fabrizzio—we loved you, your tour was AWESOME!

***Roma - Day Four: Ship docks in Civitevecchia—one hour from Roma. 8 of us again used "Rome in Limo" (I give them an A++++). Cost was much less than the ship tour ($65/person)! Picked us up at the bottom of ship's gangway. "Vinnie" (Vincinte) was our esteemed, excellent tour guide. Started at the Coliseum. Some went in, some of us stayed outside the walls (my gimpy knees). Then to the Palatine, and the gorgeous view of ancient Rome. Followed by Michaelangelo's Square, and then the Trevi Fountain.

Vinnie took us to an very nice restaurant for lunch, then to Vatican museum and St. Peters. Vinnie had already gotton us tickets (no waiting in line!!) and had arranged a superb guide for us to do the Vatican. Spent 4 hours touring the Vatican museum, the Sistene Chapel and St. Peters basillica and square. Awesome! Our guide was super and it was fabulous experience! Vinnie also had "influence" and knew where bathrooms were all over the city and where the best Gelato was. Great guide.

***Amalfi Coast(Naples)- Day Five: Oh, Mama Mia! Expensive but worth it. Drove from Napoli, past Mt. Vesuvius, first to Sorrento—LOVED it, can I move there?? We took a ship's tour for this one. Had one hour to shop/explore Sorrento. Bus was comfortable and had a great guide. Drove on to Portafino, then Amalfi (my absolute FAVORITE!). The roads are crazy, esp. for our large tour bus. Narrow, winding highways on top of rock cliffs. NO shoulders. No room for error. The views were outstanding. CAUTION: If you have fear of heights or get motion sick- this drive is not for you! You look down from your bus or car window, onto a shear drop below. At times it was harrowing and scary- but drop-dead gorgeous! A thrilling trip I will never forget.

The towns we saw were awesome. Very romantic, beautiful. Bus stopped for lunch at a cliffside cafe outside Positano. Very good lunch, all the Proseco or wine you wanted, Italian chicken, wonderful canneloni, and awesome views once again. Stopped in Positano for one hour, then in Amalfi for 1-1/2 hours, that was my favorite. Very romantic, scenic, great shops and town square.

Yes, this cruise only gave me a "taste" of Italy—but WOW! Now I know that I definitely want to go back. I am so in love with Italy- the food, the wine, the people, the history, the beauty!..I am truly grateful for this wonderful cruise which gave me the chance to sample 4 different European countries, and have a fantastic travel adventure of a lifetime!

***Mallorca - Day 6: We used Miguel & his taxi for a private 4-hour tour. He was also just top-notch, very charming and knowledgeable. Took us to see the old castle, very interesting. Then to the charming mountain town of Valderosa-- shopped and had coffee. Following that we visited the Cathedral with a huge rose window. We finished by seeing the narrow, old Arab quarter, then having lunch in the main square in Palma and doing some shopping/walking. Mallorca was way more interesting than I had expected—more historic, larger, lots more to see than just "beachy, vacation-type" things.

*** SECURITY-CAUTION: There are hundreds of websites on line to tell you the tricks/pitfalls of ALL the cities on this cruise. Pickpockets, gypsies, theives, etc. There are so many tricks. A pal with relatives in Barcelona said the locals just "do not take purses or anything with them in public". BE SO CAREFUL! I bought a neck pouch with Cut-proof cord online. Kept $2 to $8 euros in my pocket at all times (if they stole that, no big deal) in case I wanted a coffee, etc. Otherwise, everything went in my NECK BAG, under my clothes. Nowhere else. I only accesed the bag for my credit cards INSIDE a store, with my back to a wall, and my husband by my side. Yes, we witnessed theft. Don't risk it. Las Ramblas is the worst place for thieves. Since I had a few nosebleeds in Barcelona, kept a big wad of kleenex in my front pocket—It got stolen! (A man "bumped" me hard, then his hands on my hip and arm with a "So Sorry Senora", and he rushed off) Ha, joke is on him! Some shipmates had a huge roll of money/credit cards lifted out of cargo pants pocket in Mallorca on a public bus. We saw a woman in Barcelona at a sidewalk cafe jump up and scream, run after a thief who grabbed her purse. Anything (wallet, phone, etc) you put down on a table top in a cafe, or a purse hung on a chair, or wallet/money in a pocket or backpack has an excellent chance of getting pickpocketed. CAREFUL with your belongings. One one narrow Barcelona street- a resident hung a sign from his 3rd floor balcony saying "Watch out for the pickpockets!". Luggage gets stolen too, once you set it down. Some of the thieves use razor blades to cut open or cut the straps of "ordinary" purses. The cut-proof ones are worth it.

***DISEMBARKATION: It was a breeze. We almost signed up for the ship's bus for the airport. But for our 11am flight, they wanted us to be on board and leave the ship at 6:15 am (we are not early AM people)—and charge $30 per person! Too much. Instead woke up at 6:15, showered and ate room service. We had put RED tags on our luggage the night before, and the ship put those off at 6:45am. They were there ready as we left the boat at 7:10am. Easy breezy, no lines, no waits. Plenty of taxis available. The 20 minute ride cost $34. We saved $30 and left the ship 1 hour later than the ship's bus—and still had a long wait for our flight as check in at the airport went smoothly. BEFORE proceeding to your gate, visit the area with lots of cafes, duty free shops, etc. if you have time to kill. Barcelona airport is only 6 months old, very beautiful, lots of nice stores and eateries.

We lucked out on our trip home. Flew British Air from Barcelona to London. Our Heathrow flight to Seattle took off about 3 minutes before they closed the airport due to volanic ash. Phew! British air was going on strike on Tuesday, so we wanted to get home. The transfer from the domestic British Airways terminal to the International terminal is "horrific", however. You go up, down, up, down— ride a bus, more up, down—then ride a subway— then more up,down, security check again, and yet one more bus ride! Takes about 1 hour and 15 min. to get from one terminal to the other. We did not like that part at all, very hard on my back and knees.

The cruise was wonderful. Beautiful ship; great food, super people, and an excellent itenerary. Tours were A+. This was not your usual Carribbean "sun, fun, Bahama Mamas and relaxation on the pool deck". The port stops were very tour intensive and busy, but it was fabulous. We HIGHLY recommend this cruise. Next year the Epic will be on this run, and we'd love to do it all again!

I heart Italy! (and all the places we saw). Less


Published 05/19/10

Read more Norwegian Jade cruise reviews >>
Read Cruise Critic's Norwegian Jade Review >>

Compare Prices on Norwegian Jade Europe - Western Mediterranean Cruises

Cabin review: BA10048

Lots of storage bins, drawers, etc. Bathroom had 3 sections (toilet; sink; shower) which is great, plus a large, moveable faucet in sink (easier to hand wash some clothes). Shower stall has a clothesline. Two USA electric plugs. One European plug. Coffee pot and refrigerator in cabin. Fridge stocked as a mini bar. We only purchased one item. Cabin is just slightly forward of mid-ships. Very convenient for getting around. Room very quiet, but balcony could be noisy if our neighbors were also on their balcony at same time. Cabin has a safe, that comes in handy for passports and cash. Hair dryer was great, lots of power, did not need my own.

Port and Shore Excursions


What a vibrant, young, energetic, forward-thinking, artistic, historic, proud City! Do some research, but whatever you decide to see, wherever you decide to eat, you almost cannot go wrong. The city is FULL of excellent restaurants (and all have similar menus of the same Meditteranean dishes) and great boutique hotels. We flew in 2-1/2 days before ship's departure, and stayed at Hotel Jazz (partly because it was the only one we found that would allow you to cancel up to 24 hours before your booking, with no penalty). Modern, clean, and a very convenient location, close to Plaza Catalunya, Las Ramblas, buses, etc. The staff were wonderfully helpful.

Friday night we had Tapas at Sellers Tapas restaurant, 2 blks from hotel, per recommendation of the staff. Very good. Then we crashed. Had breakfast in the hotel on Sat. as the first morning I had horrible jet lag, and it was so convenient. Took the Hop On, Hop Off ("HoHo") tourist bus and rode all over town, seeing many beautiful parks, landmarks, Gaudi buildings, etc. Stopped at Park Guell.. a must see. Hotels will give you a coupon for a discount on this bus. When the weather is nice, sit up top in the open air on the bus, it's great!

Sat. Eve we celebrated my 60th birthday with dinner at Ristorante Salamanca near the Port-- an excellent recommendation from our taxi driver. They brought a platter of LIVE seafood when we sat down to show us how fresh it was! The place was charming and wonderful—supposedly it is mostly locals who eat here. Had the best salad ever: pickled asparagus, lettuce, tomatoes, jamon, olives, lemon, tossed with olive oil and sherry vinegar. Our seafood platters of langostinos, prawns, shrimp, clams, mussels were superb. The staff served us some homemade Liquer in honor of my birthday. Sunday we went to the Picasso museum, shopped in the Gothic quarter, saw the cathedral, etc. No time to ride the Funicular or hundreds of other activities we wished to do—that is the beauty of a cruise though. You get a "taste" of many places. Those you like, you know you will want to return to (Barcelona, definitely!!)

We took cabs in Barcelona and had all polite, wonderful drivers. Esp. with my gimpy knees (I move slowly) did not want to risk all the crime of the Metro or city buses. Cabs were reasonable, drivers helpful and great. Funny though, all of them had USA-80's rock music on their radios!

If we ever return to Barcelona, we'll stay far away from Las Ramblas—it is super crowded, super noisy, full of thieves, pickpockets, street performers (some of whom entertain & distract you so their pals can rob you), flower stalls, cafes, and cheap souvenir stands. We would like a hotel in the Gothic district near the Cathedral- those are cheaper and nicer!


WOW! Fabrizzio was our RomeinLimo guide for Firenze (Florence)--the absolute most EXCELLENT tour guide ever! A+++!! Picked us up at the bottom of ship’s gangway at 7am. Spent 10 hours in his air conditioned limo, seeing so many things- he was the most charming, lovely, friendly, knowlegeable tour guide ever. Fabrizzio had tickets for everywhere—no waiting in line! He formed the tour around what the 8 of us wanted to. Cost was roughly $130 euros per COUPLE; much cheaper than the ship’s tours. Only 8 of us, plenty of leg room. His limo was able to go on most all streets of Florence (Unlike the huge ship’s tour buses). Dropped us off as close as possible and picked us up (my gimpy knees appreciated it). He bought us gifts-- went by a bakery and got us all a fresh-from-the-oven slices of Italian olive oil foccacia. When we had lunch in a cafe and it started to rain, he brought us umbrellas! He was awesome.

We started with tour of Tuscan countryside--Beautiful! Fields of chianti grapes, and every hill with a mideval fort or castle. Then the Tower of Pisa, the Duomo, Pont D’vecchio, the Academia (“David” statue, gorgeous!); Florence food market, shops, town wall, etc. and many other things. Thanks, RomeinLimo and Fabrizzio—we loved you, your tour was AWESOME!


Took the ship's tour. Things were not "normal" as they were preparing for the Grand Prix race the next week. Many streets were closed, so tours could not proceed as usual. We tendered off the boat, and that was time consuming, as it was to a location not normally used. The place is gorgeous, and was fun to visit. Did not get to see the famous casino or some other things due to the street closures, but had a good time. Beautiful port, clean, gorgeous.

Read 195 Monaco Reviews

We used Miguel & his taxi for a private 4-hour tour (found him on the Internet). He was also just top-notch, very charming and knowledgeable. Took us to see the old castle, very interesting. Then to the charming mountain town of Valderosa-- shopped and had coffee. Following that we visited the Cathedral with a huge rose window. We finished by seeing the narrow, old Arab quarter, then having lunch in the main square in Palma and doing some shopping/walking. Mallorca was way more interesting than I had expected—more historic, larger, lots more to see than just “beachy, vacation-type” things.


we did a RomeinLimo tour. Excellent. Rome is crowded and narrow streets. Ship docks in Civitevecchia—one hour from Roma. 8 of us again used “Rome in Limo” (I give them an A++++). Cost was much less than the ship tour ($65/person)! Picked us up at the bottom of ship’s gangway. “Vinnie” (Vincinte) was our esteemed, excellent tour guide. Started at the Coliseum. Some went in, some of us stayed outside the walls (my gimpy knees). Then to the Palatine, and the gorgeous view of ancient Rome. Followed by Michaelangelo’s Square, and then the Trevi Fountain.

Vinnie took us to an very nice restaurant for lunch, then to Vatican museum and St. Peters. Vinnie had already gotton us tickets (no waiting in line!!) and had arranged a superb guide for us to do the Vatican. Spent 4 hours touring the Vatican museum, the Sistene Chapel and St. Peters basillica and square. Awesome! Our guide was super and it was fabulous experience! Vinnie also had “influence” and knew where bathrooms were all over the city and where the best Gelato was. Great guide.


Oh, Mama Mia! Expensive but worth it. Drove from Napoli, past Mt. Vesuvius, first to Sorrento—LOVED it, can I move there?? We took a ship’s tour for this one. Had one hour to shop/explore Sorrento. Bus was comfortable and had a great guide. Drove on to Portafino, then Amalfi (my absolute FAVORITE!). The roads are crazy, esp. for our large tour bus. Narrow, winding highways on top of rock cliffs. NO shoulders. No room for error. The views were outstanding. CAUTION: If you have fear of heights or get motion sick- this drive is not for you! You look down from your bus or car window, onto a shear drop below. At times it was harrowing and scary- but drop-dead gorgeous! A thrilling trip I will never forget.

The towns we saw were awesome. Very romantic, beautiful. Bus stopped for lunch at a cliffside cafe outside Positano. Very good lunch, all the Proseco or wine you wanted, Italian chicken, wonderful canneloni, and awesome views once again. Stopped in Positano for one hour, then in Amalfi for 1-1/2 hours, that was my favorite. Very romantic, scenic, great shops and town square.

Yes, this cruise only gave me a “taste” of Italy—but WOW! Now I know that I definitely want to go back. I am so in love with Italy- the food, the wine, the people, the history, the beauty!..I am truly grateful for this wonderful cruise which gave me the chance to sample 4 different European countries, and have a fantastic travel adventure of a lifetime!

Compare Prices on Norwegian Jade Europe - Western Mediterranean Cruises

Thank You For Signing Up!

Please Note: To ensure delivery of your free e-letters, please add news@cruisecritic.com to your address book.
We're committed to protecting your privacy and will not rent or sell your e-mail address. By proceeding, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.